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Last Updated on 7 October 2019

Health Insurance for Families

Health Insurance for Families

Raising children is expensive enough without adding high medical costs on top, which is why most Australian families have private family health insurance.

As a parent you want to protect your children so they can grow up to be healthy and happy, but even the healthiest children can encounter regular illnesses and occasional injuries. In the event that you have to deal with a long-term or serious illness in the family, medical costs can quickly spiral out of control.

The best family health insurance can help ease the financial burden of raising a family and give you the reassurance that comes with knowing you are covered in case of the unexpected, so it’s important to do your research and compare the family health insurance policies that are out there to get the best deal possible.

Whether you’re first time parents, you’re expanding your family or it’s been a while since you reviewed your health insurance policy, now is a good time to speak to someone about whether your current policy is meeting all your needs.

As you know, families change very quickly and your health insurance should grow with you. Our health insurance experts can help you compare family health insurance policies to find the best one for your family’s growing needs with one simple, half-hour phone call.

Switching health insurance providers is easier than you think. You don’t need to re-serve waiting periods when you transfer to a cover with equivalent benefits… even if you have a pre-existing condition. Call us today and we can clarify any questions that you may have in regards to family health insurance.

Why do I need a specific family health insurance policy?

Health insurance is designed to cover you for different life stages. Before meeting your partner or starting a family you probably had an individual health insurance policy. You may have kept this when you met your partner, or you might have changed to a couple’s policy where you were both included.

When considering starting a family, most couples decide to switch to a family health insurance policy. While you can in theory, take out a separate policy for each individual member of the family, a family policy lets you combine cover for everyone.

This is more convenient and usually cheaper than taking out individual cover and because family health insurance is tailored to meet the needs of people at this particular stage of their lives, the level and type of cover provided is usually more suited to the needs of families than a generic policy.

If you’re expecting, it’s a good idea to take out family cover early so that your baby will be covered from birth. It’s also important to be aware that whatever type of health insurance policy you have now, you will need to have obstetrics cover for at least 12 months before the birth of your baby to ensure you will be covered for the birth-related hospital costs.

Why do I need to re-evaluate my family health insurance?

While it may seem obvious to switch from a singles or couples policy to a family one when you’re expecting, as your family grows it’s equally important to make sure your health insurance policy keeps up with your changing needs.

From baby care to early childhood development where you might need treatment like speech therapy and occupational therapy, to glasses and braces for your teenager, it’s important to review your family’s health insurance policy on a regular basis to make sure it’s still appropriate for you.

While it’s unlikely you’re going to need cover for hip replacements or cataract surgery, you should make sure your policy does include cover for the following:

  • Dental treatment and orthodontics. While Medicare covers children for a minimal amount of standard dental treatment each year, if your child requires extensive treatment like wisdom tooth removal or orthodontics (braces) you could be out of pocket by thousands of dollars.
  • Glasses and contact lenses. While eye tests are usually free on Medicare, unfortunately corrective treatment including glasses and contact lenses aren’t. If your child is nearsighted or farsighted it can affect their ability to learn at school so it’s important that issues are addressed as soon as possible.
  • Speech and occupational therapy. Many children experience difficulties with their speech or physical development as they grow. These issues can often be corrected with the right therapy, but it’s expensive and not usually covered by Medicare. The right extras cover on your family health insurance policy means that your child can get the help they need to get back on track before they are affected over the long term.
  • Hospital care. Children invariably have accidents and illnesses that may require hospital treatment. With the right hospital cover your family will be covered for some or all of the costs and for long term issues you will have more affordable access to quality private treatment, shorter waiting lists and your choice of health care provider.
  • Ambulance cover. If there is a medical emergency, you or a family member may need to get to hospital quickly. Without private ambulance cover you could be left with an expensive bill to pay on top of treatment costs.

Family policies are tailored to the specific needs of families, so you can get access to the services you need without having to pay extra on your premium for unnecessary cover.

How long can my children stay on my policy?

Your children can remain on your family policy until they are 25 provided they are full-time students and still your dependents. Once they stop studying full time or turn 25 they will usually need to purchase their own health insurance policy.

Some health insurance policies ask you to pay a higher premium once your children are over the age of 18 and not studying full-time. If this is the case for you, it may be time to review your policy and look around for one that is more suited to your family’s situation.

If your children have left home you will probably want to change from a family to a singles or couples’ insurance policy. This can help you reduce your premium costs and ensure that you’re covered for any medical issues you may experience in the future.

Family health insurance can be confusing. At Health Insurance Comparison, we can help you find the best policy for your family’s changing needs. Fill out your details below or give us a call and we’ll find you tailored policies at the best prices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Health Insurance

There are three types of health insurance in Australia. They are:

  • Hospital Cover
  • Extras Cover (also known as general or ancillary cover)
  • Ambulance Cover

Hospital cover can ensure any unexpected surgeries, treatments or hospital stays you may require will be covered. With appropriate cover you will have the flexibility to choose your own doctor and the option of receiving treatment in a private hospital.  Most hospital covers allow you to stay in a private room. One other perk is skipping the public hospital systems’ waiting list, which can be lengthy for non emergency treatment.

Extras cover pays benefits for a a range of services, often including treatments and procedures related to the fullowing:

  • Dental/oral health
  • Glasses and contact lenses
  • Podiatry
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychulogy
  • Acupuncture
  • Remedial massage
  • Chiropractic
  • Hearing aids
  • Travel vaccinations

Ambulance cover, as the name suggests, will cover you should you require emergency ambulance transport. In an emergency, there is enough to worry about. Having the expenses covered for provides security and peace of mind. Many hospital covers include emergency ambulance transport If yours doesn’t, you will need to shop for this separately.

Life is unpredictable. You never know when you might need cover. No matter what life stage you’re in, there’s a policy out there for everyone. You can select as much or as little cover as you want, depending on your health needs and requirements. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind health cover provides.

There is no one answer here. Costs vary across providers and policy types. Just because a policy is cheap, that does not mean it is ‘value for money’ and vise versa. Make sure you check what’s included and excluded in a policy before signing up, as you want to purchase a policy that best fits your specific needs.

Premium: A premium is the price you pay for your insurance policy (it may be paid annually or on an ongoing basis).

Policy: An insurance plan. In other words, it is the type of insurance you choose to select.

Policy Holder: The owner, or ‘holder’ of a policy.

Claim: In the event that you require treatment for a service covered by your policy, you can lodge a claim for reimbursement of all or part of the cost of that treatment.. These days, most claims are submitted electronically by the health care provider (dentist, physio etc)

Lifetime Health Cover: Lifetime Health Cover was put in place to encourage young Australians to seek out and maintain ownership of private health insurance early in their lives. If you do not take out a policy before you turn 31, extra charges will be applied should you take out a policy at a later time.

This means you will pay a 2% loading on top of your premium for every year that passes after you turn 30. For example, if you take out a policy for the first time at age 32, you will be charged 4% of your premium as an extra, then at age 40, 20% and so on, up to a maximum loading of 70%.

The loading is payable for 10 consecutive years of cover - after which it is removed and you premiums will be reduced.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): Medicare offers assistance for Australians with many of their their prescribed medication costs through the PBS. This assistance is in the form of subsidies towards the cost of many medications. You can check if your prescribed medication is on the list of subsidised items here.

Medicare Levy Surcharge: The Medicare Levy Surcharge is an additional charge (tax) applied to single Australian taxpayers who earn over the income threshold of $90,000 per year, or families/couples who earn over $180,000 per year. This surcharge is only applied to those who choose not to have a private health insurance policy.

The surcharge is designed to reduce pressure on the public health system by encouraging those with higher incomes to invest in private health cover.

Private Health Insurance Rebate: The government’s Private Health Insurance rebate lowers premiums for most Australians with private health insurance Older Australians may enjoy an even higher rebate. Our calculator can help you estimate the Government health insurance rebate you may receive.

Disclaimer: The above information is correct and current at the time of publication

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