Family Health Insurance pays for you and your family members to receive prompt private medical care when you need it most. In exchange for monthly premiums, you receive the best treatment for eligible conditions in private hospitals and facilities across the UK.
Most insurers let you add newborns to a family health plan straight away. The policy can therefore cover children from birth right up to the age they are no longer classed as eligible dependents. This age is typically around 21.
Opting for private medical insurance enables the whole family to bypass any delays in treatment caused by NHS waiting lists.
Hospitals split healthcare into inpatient / day-patient treatment and outpatient treatment. These are defined as:
All Private Medical Insurance, even the most basic family health plans, cover inpatient and day-patient care.
Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, is an optional extra for an added premium. You don’t have to add it to your Health Insurance if you don’t want to. If you don’t, premiums will be cheaper.
However, without it you rely on the NHS for outpatient care such as diagnostic tests and scans before going private for any surgical intervention these tests show you need. Given current waiting lists, this could delay private inpatient treatment.
There are a number of additional benefits you can choose to bolt onto the policy including:
When it comes to medical issues, there are two main types you could develop:
Private Health Insurance only treats acute conditions. The NHS will continue to provide ongoing management of chronic conditions, even if you have a Health Insurance plan.
All Health Insurance policies treat cancer as standard. It’s one of the most valuable elements of any policy, with private cancer cover often offering access to cutting-edge drugs, treatments and procedures that aren’t routinely available on the NHS due to cost.
It covers chemo / radiotherapy, biological therapies and cancer surgery / reconstruction.
Other benefits usually include:
Many parents will no doubt have faced the dilemma of an ill child in the middle of the night or at the weekend, when your options to access medical advice are limited.
Even when your GP surgery is open, it’s not always easy to get an appointment when you need it.
To combat this, Family Health Insurance policies all now offer access to a digital GP service. This provides phone or video consultations with a UK-registered GP via your smartphone.
Appointments are available 24 / 7 in most cases, meaning you and your children can get medical advice whenever and wherever suits you.
A remote GP can do everything your NHS GP can, from offering medical advice and reassurance to issuing prescriptions and making referrals for private healthcare under your Health Insurance plan.
There are a number of child-specific benefits you may get access to depending on your provider with Health Insurance for families:
Even the best Health Insurance policies won’t meet every healthcare need. It is designed to supplement the NHS rather than replacing it fully. This means the NHS still takes charge of some aspects of your treatment.
For example, Health Insurance won’t cover:
The honest answer is no, private medical insurance isn’t a necessity in the UK. We’re very lucky to have the NHS providing healthcare free at the point of use, no matter our age or ability to pay.
The NHS does a fantastic job. However, the reality is that the system is under strain from a squeezed budget and rising demand for healthcare. The result has been rising waiting times.
For example, at the end of July 2020, there were 4.05 million people on NHS waiting lists in England. 2.15 million of these patients — more than half — had been awaiting treatment for more than 18 weeks. 83,203 had been waiting for more than a year.
Moreover, the NHS can’t always pay for all healthcare. For example, it may not offer access to expensive cancer treatments that haven’t been approved due to their cost.
As mentioned, another benefit of Family Medical Insurance is that it pays for one parent to stay with their child during a child’s inpatient care. While the NHS will endeavour to offer this, space restrictions on wards may not always permit it.
There’s a fairly linear formula to work out the price of premiums. Health Insurance for couples will cost around double that for a single individual.
Meanwhile, to get a rough estimate of the cost to add your children to your Health Insurance policy, you typically halve an adult premium and add that on to get the cost of family cover.
This said, there are a variety of factors that go into calculating the cost of cover including:
To calculate the cost of the premiums laid out in the table below, we’ve assumed each individual is:
Parents Age 35
Children Age 13 and 11
£165.06 per month
Parents Age 40
10 Year Old Twins
£167.38 per month
Parents Age 50
Children Age 18 and 16
£207.23 per month
The above table of premiums is purely for illustration. The most appropriate cover and associated cost will depend on your specific circumstances.
Each insurer has their own pricing philosophy. It’s important to compare quotes from a wide range of providers to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
When comparing quotes check the policy terms and conditions as the cover provided will vary from one insurer to the next.
If you need help comparing family health insurance providers and want advice on the most appropriate policy give us a call on 02074425880 or email email@example.com.
Where private health insurance is modular there are a number of policy adjustments you can make which have a big impact on the cost of your plan.
It is important to note that many of the ways you can reduce the cost in turn reduce the level of cover. We would advise you speak to an expert to ensure the balance between cost and cover meets your needs in the most effective way.
Some of the most common changes you can make to trim the cost of your monthly premiums include:
As mentioned, outpatient cover is an optional extra you pay a higher premium for.
Having no outpatient cover at all will save money, but you’ll have to rely on the NHS for all outpatient care and be subject to NHS waiting times.
One option that falls between covering outpatient treatment in full and having no cover at all is opting for limited outpatient.
Here, the insurer pays for outpatient procedures up to a set monetary limit per policy year. This limit is typically £1,000.
An excess is one of the best ways to reduce premiums without impacting how comprehensive your Health Insurance plan is. Your excess is the amount of money you pay upfront towards your private healthcare before your insurance kicks in to cover the rest. The larger the excess the lower your premiums.
Excesses start at £100 and go all the way up to £5,000 depending on your insurer and the treatment you need.
Before authorising private inpatient procedures, your insurer first examines the NHS waiting list for that procedure in your local area. If the waiting time for the care you need is less than 6 weeks, you use the NHS.
If the wait is longer than 6 weeks, or the NHS doesn’t offer the treatment you require, then the insurer pays for private healthcare as normal.
This only applies to inpatient care. If you choose Health Insurance with outpatient cover, you’ll still receive this privately regardless of NHS waiting times.
Another option to help achieve a more affordable family health plan is to choose a reduced or local hospital list. A reduced hospital list usually means limiting the facilities you can have private treatment in to private wards in NHS hospitals or exclusively local private facilities.
You have two medical underwriting options to compare with family health insurance: moratorium underwriting and full medical underwriting.
Which one is right for you and your family depends on your medical history.
The majority of policyholders choose moratorium underwriting. Here, your insurer excludes medical conditions you’ve had advice, medication or treatment for in the 5 years leading up to the plan’s start date.
This exclusion will typically be on a rolling moratorium basis. Your insurer will reconsider covering the pre-existing condition after you’ve spent 2 years on the policy without receiving any treatment for it.
Full medical underwriting requires you to fill out a form declaring your medical history and all your pre-existing conditions before you take out your plan. The insurer then usually excludes these conditions.
While this means you know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for from the beginning, it can be tricky to get the exclusions removed.
When an insurer underwrites you on an FMU basis, it usually looks at all medical conditions, not just those which have occurred in the past 5 years, as is the case with moratorium underwriting.
There are five main insurers in the UK Health Insurance market each with their own unique product:
In addition to the 5 core providers there are also a handful of smaller, more specialised insurers you could use depending on your needs.
When carrying out your own research it is important to review the whole market, as each insurer has their own pricing philosophy that is dependant on a range of factors. Some of which are specific to your family.
At Drewberry, we compare Health Insurance quotes from every single insurer on the market to make sure our clients get the best possible deal for the coverage they require.
Once you have Health Insurance, the policy renews each year. This offers you an annual opportunity to review the market and ensure you’re still getting the most competitive deal.
An annual review is part of the service we provide for all our clients. We’ll go out to the entire market and compare quotes from every UK insurer to negotiate the best terms for your renewal. If it turns out you could get a cheaper plan elsewhere, we’ll then facilitate a switch between providers.
This is important because switching can be tricky to do yourself. For instance, you’ll need to switch Health Insurance providers on a continuing personal medical exclusions (CPME) basis if there is medical history to take into consideration.
CPME ensures you won’t face any new exclusions as a result of the move and you retain essential continuity of cover.
We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.
We all deserve a first class service when it comes to issues as important as protecting our health. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us.
For help and fee-free advice on reviewing an existing plan or setting up a new Health Insurance policy for your family, give us a call on 02074425880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve held a policy with Drewberry for several years now. They are always friendly, insightful and offer great service.