Thinking about purchasing health insurance but feeling overwhelmed by the number of companies out there? Health & Wellbeing takes you through the simple steps to finding out what kind of cover you and your family need.
Putting family first
As your family expands, so do those middle-of-the-night worries about looking after everyone the best you can. By purchasing a private health insurance policy you can rest assured that all eventualities are covered, whether that means getting the kids kitted out with glasses and braces, or not having to bear the financial burden of any unexpected emergency treatments.
Picking a policy
It is really important to pick a policy that suits not only your budget, but also your family's needs. Competitive quotes look good on paper, but what do you actually get for your money?
When comparing policies, it is imperative you find out what treatments are included and whether the policy takes into account your preferred hospital and health practitioners. If staying in a private hospital isn't high on your list of priorities, then you can probably save money by opting for private treatment at a public hospital.
Ask if waiting periods are applicable, and if so, for what procedures? In addition, find out what treatments are restricted to public hospitals and if there is any limit to the number of treatments you can claim on your policy in any given time period. By establishing what your main concerns are (accidents and emergencies, elective surgery or day-to-day medical expenses) you can then make sure the policy you choose takes them all into account.
Do your research
It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor and research your family's medical history to get a realistic idea of any future health issues you might encounter.
Think about what stage your family is at. For example, if you don't plan to have any more kids, you don't need a policy that covers birth-related costs. Also, check what is actually meant by the term "child", while some companies might be referring to anyone under 16, others will cover full-time students up to the age of 21. Always read the fine print and ensure you get written answers to any queries you might have.
Private health insurance falls into two categories: hospital and general treatment, and extras. Buy them separately or as a combined policy, but again, always check what the limitations are. "General treatment cover is great if you regularly visit your dentist, optician or physiotherapist," Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just says. "You can even find policies that help cover the cost of alternative therapies."
These extras can be added at a later date, so as you and your family's situations change, so can the type of insurance cover that you have. By choosing the right policy you can relax knowing you have taken care of your family's current, and future, medical needs.