Family Health Insurance
Protecting your loved ones health...
Family Private Health Insurance pays for private medical treatment. The scope of the cover provided can vary considerably depending on what options you select.
Most family plans will cover inpatient and day patient treatment in full which means that you would be covered for treatment, testing and consultations where a hospital bed is required either overnight or just for the day.
To cover initial consultations and diagnostic testing where a hospital bed is not required a level of outpatient cover will need to be selected. This is recommended to avoid NHS outpatient waiting lists.
The level of cover and type of treatment required will determine the exact process but the main variation depends on whether the policy includes outpatient cover.
No Outpatient Cover
With Outpatient Cover
You and your family run the risk of NHS outpatient waiting lists for diagnostic testing and initial consultations if you opt for a plan without outpatient cover.
Do we need
Although the National Health Service (NHS) does a brilliant job with limited resources, thousands of couples in the UK have decided they would rather be treated privately.
Should we go private?
Those with private healthcare cover benefit from speedier diagnosis and treatment, the highest quality care, lower infection risks, private rooms with internet access and round the clock visiting times.
Choosing to take out a family medical insurance plan ensures that you, your partner and your children will all receive the highest quality private healthcare when you need it most and in the most comfortable surroundings.
1. Choose the level of Outpatient CoverAlthough the level of outpatient cover makes a sizable difference to the premiums it does ensure that initial consultations and testing can be done privately.
2. Cancer CoverA popular option is to upgrade the policy so there is no time limit for the provision of biological cancer drugs (some plans have a standard limit of 12 months).
3. Therapies CoverIt is common for plans to cover therapies (such as physio) up to the outpatient limit, although GP referred therapies are an additional option.
With potentially long NHS waiting lists it makes sense to consider private health insurance for your family.
Family medical insurance allows you and your family to receive quality healthcare at the UK's leading hospitals and at times most important to you.
With a large range of plans on offer there should be something to fit with every family requirement and budget.
Although the National Health Service (NHS) does a fantastic job given the tight resources it has to operate under, with inpatient waiting lists standing at over 632,000 in January 2010 (according to Department for Health Commissioner based statistics for England) it is important to gain the means to quality healthcare when your family needs it most.
It is often difficult to prioritise the many areas of family expenditure but many would find it difficult to argue against health being the most important aspect of family life.
Even the most basic family health plans provide full cover for inpatient and day-patient consultations, treatments, tests and scans.
This means that if anything serious happens that requires a hospital bed or an overnight hospital stay you can rest assured that the necessary healthcare is there when you need it. Family health plans therefore prove a valuable means of keeping your family fit and healthy, at work or in school.
Most family medical insurance plans also provide around the clock visiting hours and parent accommodation so you can stay close by when your children require treatment.
Although all family medical plans cover the cost of inpatient and day-patient healthcare in full, the cover provided for outpatient and additional healthcare benefits does vary considerably from plan to plan. In this sense it is important to consider your options and select a plan that meets the needs of your family most.
Generally speaking, the more comprehensive the plan the more outpatient treatment and additional benefits included in the health cover, although even the most basic plans include some important additional family benefits.
An important benefit is parent accommodation, where parents are provided a room so they can stay close by whilst their child undergoes treatment. Most plans will provide parent accommodation for children under the age of 9 years old with some plans extending this age limit to 16 years.
Routine dental and optical benefit
Some family medical plans also provide the option of including routine dental and optical cover to your policy for an additional premium. This cover usually comes in the form of a cash plan where you can claim back routine dental and optical costs within specified policy limits.
Other family medical benefits
There are many other benefits available, deciding on which additional benefits to include will depend on your families demographic, but the options to consider from usually consist of osteopathy, homeopathy, oral surgery, home nursing, parent accommodation and the use of a private ambulance.
It is understandable that parents want the best healthcare for their children, partner and themselves but worry about how to obtain a plan within their family budget.
Although there are many affordable family medical insurance plans with full inpatient cover but reduced outpatient cover, there are also three main options to reduce monthly premiums even further, which are discussed below.
It is possible to add an excess to your family plan which can reduce premiums significantly. For example, premiums could be reduced by around 10% with an excess of £250.
With an excess you agree to pay your excess amount to contribute to your treatment upon making a claim. You will only need to pay this excess once per person and once per policy year. With a family plan it is usually possible to select a separate excess for each person covered.
Six week wait options
One of the main concerns with using the NHS relates to long waiting lists. If this is your main concern then choosing a six week option might be appropriate for you and your family.
With this option you agree to take inpatient treatment on the NHS if the waiting list is less than six weeks long, otherwise you would go private straight away. Including this option could reduce premiums by around 20%.
Reduced hospital list
Another option to help you achieve affordable family health insurance cover is to choose a reduced or local hospital list. A reduced hospital list usually means limiting your hospital list to private wards of NHS hospitals.
With some family medical plans there is an option to limit your hospital list to hospitals within a certain radius of your home, called a local hospital list.
The first and one of the most significant factors is age, family health cover is an annually reviewable contract which means each year the insurer has the right to review the premiums you are paying.
Unfortunately with age we tend to get more aches and pains and inevitably require more treatment. Although uncontrollable, age is a factor when quoting, the older you are the greater the chance of you claiming on the policy and the more expensive your premiums.
Other personal factors we have more control over include whether we smoke and our exercise patterns. We all know the risks associated with smoking and thus you face inflated premiums should you have used tobacco products in the past 12 months.
On a more positive note if you are an exercise junky then you may well be entitled to a discount on your medical cover quotes, some of the larger insurers now actively promote healthy living with discounted rates and a healthy living points systems.
If you are still considering your options and want a chat to run through please do not hesitate to give us a call. We are here to make your life easier, whether it is more information, guidance or quotes from the leading insurers then let us help.
02/11/2014 M Dorais
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