Needless to say, your health and wellbeing and that of your family is of paramount importance to you. So when it comes to making sure everyone’s in tip top form, it’s important to look at all the options available - these can include private healthcare which you’ll acquire from buying health insurance. But knowing what you get and whether it’s worth it can be hard to fathom, so here’s what you should know.
Why should I get family medical insurance?
Whether you need health insurance is entirely up to you, private healthcare is designed to sit alongside the NHS, so you’ll still need to go to A&E in an emergency and use the NHS for unplanned procedures. But having insurance means you can avoid long waiting lists for consultations and planned procedures – meaning faster diagnosis and treatment. You’ll usually get a say over where and when you’re treated and might also get access to medication not currently available on the NHS.
What levels of cover are there?
Family healthcare will usually cover the policyholder with the option of adding family members to the policy which can sometimes work out cheaper than arranging individual cover.
You’ll be able to choose your level of cover and you can opt to add extras so that your policy fits around you and your family’s lifestyle. Policies vary by provider but as a general rule you’ll be able to get policies that cover you for:
- In-patient treatment – where you have a planned procedure and have to stay in hospital
- Day patient treatment – for planned procedures and could include regular treatments but where you don’t have to stay in hospital
- Outpatient treatment – for any treatment or consultations
You can also opt for extra cover such as physiotherapy or dental care. Psychiatric care such as counselling sessions may also be offered as an additional optional feature. And depending on your own circumstances and family health history you might want to consider extending your policy to include specific cancer cover and home nursing.
What should I consider before taking out a policy?
When you start thinking about cover, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions (and answer honestly), and consider things like:
- How old you are and what sort of treatment you are most likely to need?
- How much are you willing to pay for your policy?
- Hobbies that you and your family have – do you all enjoy high impact sports which could mean you need extensive physiotherapy?
- What other extras would be beneficial for your family – for example, dental care?
- What exclusions are there likely to be based of your health history?
What’s not included in health insurance?
Policies won’t usually cover you for pre-existing conditions; which means that if you’ve suffered an illness before, your policy probably won’t cover you for treatment for the same condition should you get it again.
You also might not be covered for chronic illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure, or for standard birth procedures. Cosmetic surgery, unless it can be considered a medical requirement, is also typically excluded from policies.
Policies differ by insurance provider so it’s important to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before you sign on the dotted line.
What about a medical?
Medicals are a way for insurance providers to make sure that they can properly assess your needs so that they can ensure a policy and premium that will reflect you and your lifestyle; but they aren’t always needed. If you’re in good general health and don’t smoke, drink too much and are within a healthy height to weight ratio, then your insurance provider may decide there’s no need for one.
How much will family healthcare cost me?
The cost of your premium is made up of multiple factors, such as your age and your lifestyle. Generally, the fitter, younger and healthier you are, the more favourable your premium is likely to be.
But that’s not to say that if you’re not quite at peak performance you’ll be faced with a massive bill – it all depends on the policy you opt for. Providers will usually let you tailor your package so that it fits in with your healthcare needs and the needs of your pocket. Some areas you could compromise on include:
- Six-week option – you could lower your premium by taking out this option; it means that you’ll agree to NHS care rather than private treatment if the NHS can see you within six weeks of a specialist recommending treatment.
- Excess – this works in the same way as your car insurance excess, so in the event of a claim you agree to pay a certain amount towards the cost of your treatment. You can increase the amount of excess to lower the cost of your premium (but be sure you can actually afford it if you did come to claim).
- Reduced hospital lists – when you take out a private health plan, you’ll have access to a range of hospitals but you can lower your premium by agreeing access to a slightly smaller range of hospitals instead.
Compare family health insurance
Comparing with us is easy and when you’ve got a family to look after, easy is exactly what you need. We’ll ask you a few questions and search for potential providers for you – all you have to do is suss out which one’s right for you, so let’s compare.