Whether you’re a new mother or your kids are well into their teens, something you should always think about is the whether family health insurance is right for you.
Although this kind of policy is not for everyone, it’s worth weighing up your options, whether you’ve got kids that are particularly accident-prone or you simply want the peace of mind.
So what do you need to know about family health insurance policies, and how can you get the best value?
What’s the difference?
Family policies are typically designed to meet the needs of Australian families, as opposed to singles. They provide a higher level of cover and can typically extend to include however many children you have.
There are many types of family policies, including single parent and carer policies.
When can your child join your family policy?
Essentially, you can take out a family policy and add your child to it as soon as your child is born. If you already have a family policy, it’s fairly easy to add a child to it, but if you’re on a single policy, you may have to make the switch and upgrade.
If you stay with the same insurance brand when you switch, you most likely won’t need to serve out your waiting periods again. However, if you get cover for things that you weren’t already covered for, you will need to serve the waiting periods for those features.
How long can your child remain on your family policy?
Depending on your health fund and your policy, there are different variables for when a child is considered an adult. Typically, the cut off is either at the age of 21, or when they finish full-time study. At this point, they will either have to get their own private health insurance policy, or you can alter your policy under one of these classifications:
Student dependant: A single person aged 21 to 25 who is studying full time can still be covered by their family policy.
Adult dependant: A single person aged 21 to 25 who is not studying full time can be covered by their family policy for an additional fee.
Independent adult: A single person who is over 25 and no longer eligible for cover under their family policy will need to take out cover on their own, but they typically won’t need to serve the waiting periods again if they stick to the same health brand.
How can you get the best value?
There are a few ways that you can ensure that you have the best level of cover without paying too much for it.
Firstly, you should review your policy regularly. It’s a good idea to do this annually, typically before 1 April, as this is when premiums rise each year. You should also not be afraid to switch policies. If you find better value with a different policy or brand, you shouldn’t be concerned about brand loyalty. Go with where the value is.
You can also split your cover. If one health insurance brand has your ideal hospital cover policy but a different brand has the extras policy that you’d prefer, consider mixing and matching your insurance.
For parents thinking of taking out a family health insurance policy, it’s definitely something worth considering. Whether you want the peace of mind or you’d like the benefits that come alongside an extras policy, a health insurance policy can be of great value to all kinds of families.
Do you have family health insurance? Share your experiences with us in the comments.