Private Health Insurance For Families

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15-01-2021

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.

What Does It Cover?

Hospitals split healthcare into inpatient / day-patient treatment and outpatient treatment. These are defined as:

  • Inpatient / day-patient
    Any healthcare requiring a hospital bed, either overnight (inpatient) or just for the day (day-patient). This is usually after surgery.
  • Outpatient
    All healthcare where you don’t need a hospital bed. This includes consultations, diagnostic tests and scans and treatment such as physiotherapy.

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.

Optional Extras

There are a number of additional benefits you can choose to bolt onto the policy including:

  • Mental Health Treatment
  • Physiotherapy
  • Dental & Optical Cover
  • Travel Insurance

Chronic vs Acute Conditions

When it comes to medical issues, there are two main types you could develop:

  • Acute conditions
    Any condition that passes with time and medical attention. For example, this includes cataracts needing removal or joint pain surgeons can fix with a joint replacement.
  • Chronic conditions
    These conditions remain with you for life. Even with medical attention, doctors can’t cure them, only manage them. This includes asthma and diabetes.

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.

Cancer Care

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:

  • The option to have chemotherapy at home rather than in a clinical setting
  • Cash towards wigs and prosthetics you need due to cancer treatment / surgery
  • Money towards scalp cooling, to reduce hair loss from chemotherapy
  • Donations to a hospice if you need palliative care
  • Access to home nursing for a certain number of days, where a dedicated private nurse will come to your home to check up on you.

Digital GP Service

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.

Complete UK Guide to Private Medical Insurance for Families

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.

Private Medical Treatment for Children

There are a number of child-specific benefits you may get access to depending on your provider with Health Insurance for families:

  • Parent accommodation
    When any child your policy covers requires private inpatient treatment under the plan, your insurer typically pays for a parent to stay in the hospital with your child
  • Birthmark treatment
    Most insurers pay for procedures that aims to remove or at least reduce the appearance of birthmarks on covered children, such as laser correction for port wine stain birthmarks
  • Ear correction surgery
    Most insurers offer procedures to pin back prominent ears in children under a certain age
  • Speech therapy
    Where a child is struggling with their speech due to a developmental delay, many insurers pay towards a set number of sessions with a speech therapist
  • Cash benefit on the birth of a child
    As well as being able to add your child to your Family Health Insurance policy from birth, many insurers pay a cash bonus to help welcome your newborn to the world.

Common Exclusions

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:

  • Routine pregnancy / childbirth (you may be covered for complications)
  • Chronic conditions
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Emergency medicine
  • Intensive care
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Screening and preventative treatment (e.g. mammograms).
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Do We Need Family Health Insurance?

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.

How Much Does Family Health Insurance Cost?

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:

  • Age
    The older we are the more likely we are to develop health problems. This means older adults pay higher premiums.
  • Location
    Private facilities around the country charge different amounts for private healthcare. If you live in an area with pricey private hospitals, such as London, you’ll pay more for cover.
  • Smoker status
    Smokers are more likely to develop serious illnesses, especially cancer and heart conditions, that are costly for insurers to treat. Smokers therefore pay more in premiums.
  • Medical history / pre-existing conditions
    Insurers may examine your health, including metrics such as your body mass index (BMI), as well as your medical history. If you have a serious medical condition or a history of one, you’ll likely pay more for cover.

Example Premiums

To calculate the cost of the premiums laid out in the table below, we’ve assumed each individual is:

  • In good health
  • A non-smoker
  • Looking for a comprehensive plan with a nationwide hospital list
  • Willing to pay a £250 excess
  • Not looking for any additional extras on the policy
  • Based in the same postcode as our Brighton office.

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 help@drewberry.co.uk.

Top Ways To Reduce the Cost

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:

Limit Outpatient Cover

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.

Adding an Excess

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.

6 Week NHS Wait Option

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.

Limit Your List of Private Facilities

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.

Which Underwriting is Right for Us?

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.

Moratorium Underwriting (MORI)

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 (FMU)

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.

Who Are The Best UK Private Medical Insurance Providers?

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.

Review Family Health Insurance And Switching Providers

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.

Compare Family Health Insurance Quotes & Get Expert Advice

Health Insurance is a great way to get peace of mind and ensure our loved ones get the best healthcare exactly when they need it the most.

However, with lots of options to choose from it’s not always a simple policy to arrange.

Why Speak to Us…

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.

  • There is no fee for our service
  • We are an award winning 🏆 independent insurance broker who works with all the leading UK insurers
  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
  • We are very proud of the 3062 and growing independent client reviews rating us at 4.92 / 5
  • Claims support when you need it most.
  • We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. You can find us on the financial services register here 🧐
  • Claims support when you need it most.

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 help@drewberry.co.uk.

Very helpful from start to finish. Talked through all the points and gave great advice.

Darren Comer
16/05/2021
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