Why Health Insurance is a Must for Families
re Australian families are recognising the importance of a comprehensive health insurance policy. It’s more than just a safety net; it’s a lifeline.
From those nerve-wracking emergency ambulance rides to the routine check-ups that keep us on top of our game, health insurance plays an invaluable role.
It’s about knowing you’ve got the backup you need for your family’s health needs, no matter what life throws your way. It’s not just about coverage, it’s about peace of mind.
So, if you’re looking for the best health insurance for a family of 4, we’ve got you covered.
How Does Family Health Insurance Work?
When it comes to insuring your family members under a family health insurance policy, everyone will be covered for the same treatments and services as each other.
There are three main options for family health cover – it’s really the same options you get when you’re taking out a single policy, but with cover for everyone in your family under one policy.
The right choice for you depends on your family’s health needs and financial situation:
- Hospital cover: This type of cover helps with the cost of surgeries and hospital treatments for you and your family. There are four tiers to choose from: Basic, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Each level of cover offers more benefits and contributes towards a wider range of treatments. Some insurers even offer Basic Plus, Bronze Plus, and Silver Plus options with extra coverage beyond the minimum requirements of each tier.
- Extras cover: With an extras cover policy, you can claim rebates for various medical expenses that are not covered by Medicare. This includes dental care, physiotherapy, podiatry, certain natural therapies, and more. It’s great for those extra healthcare needs outside of the hospital.
- Combined hospital and extras cover: If you want comprehensive family health insurance that covers both hospital treatments and services outside of the hospital, you can opt for a combined policy. This way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re covered for various treatments in different settings.
So, take some time to consider your family’s specific requirements and financial circumstances to make the best decision for your family’s health coverage.
Choosing the Best Health Insurance Policy for Your Family
The best health insurance for a family of four would typically include both hospital and extras cover. Companies like Bupa, Medibank, nib, and HCF offer competitive health cover options.
But remember, it’s not just about the insurance company – it’s about the policy that best suits your family members and their unique health needs.
The Benefits of Family Health Insurance
While the Australian Government offers excellent healthcare through Medicare, there are still certain things it doesn’t cover, especially when it comes to in-hospital treatments and extras cover.
That’s where private health insurance for families comes in handy. It allows your loved ones to claim for treatments outside of the hospital or through the private system, as long as the service is included in your policy, waiting periods have been completed, and all claiming requirements are met.
When considering whether to get family health insurance, here are a few benefits to keep in mind:
- Financial peace of mind: Having a family health insurance policy with extras and private hospital cover provides a safety net for both serious and minor health concerns. It offers a broader range of coverage for you, your partner, and your children, bringing peace of mind.
- Choice of treating doctor: With a private hospital insurance policy, you have the freedom to choose the doctors who will treat you as a private patient (subject to availability).
- Savings on healthcare costs: Planning to save money for your children’s future or your retirement? The thought of unexpected, expensive healthcare expenses can be daunting. By having the right level of private health insurance, your health fund will contribute towards eligible costs, easing the financial burden.
- Private room: If available, you can recover in your own private room while in the hospital, adding to your comfort and privacy.
- Faster treatment: By avoiding public hospital waiting lists, you and your children can receive the necessary treatment promptly, leading to greater satisfaction.
- Subsidised treatments and services: Whether it’s dental check-ups or visits to the physiotherapist, having an extras policy can help cover these costs, providing valuable support for parents.
One of the fantastic aspects of family private health insurance policies is that some funds allow you to upgrade your couple’s policy to include your dependent children at no additional cost.
This applies to families of all sizes, whether you’re a family of three, four, or even more!
Depending on your insurer, children up to the age of 18-31 may also be covered. All you need to do is provide some details about your child to add them to your policy.
When to Take Out Family Health Insurance
When it comes to deciding when to take out family health insurance, it’s important to consider your unique family’s health needs and the health services you might require depending on your life stages. Here are some scenarios where it’s worth considering getting health insurance for your family:
Starting your family: Welcoming your first child is a special time, but it’s also crucial to prepare for it. If you’re planning to start a family, it’s recommended to obtain hospital cover with pregnancy included well in advance. If you don’t already have a health insurance provider, you’ll need to take out coverage and serve a 12-month waiting period if you want to give birth in a private hospital.
You should also check with your health fund to understand the steps you need to take for your child to be covered from birth. It may be necessary to upgrade to a family policy up to 12 months before your due date to ensure your newborn is covered.
Having multiple children: When it comes to your second or third child, you may be able to add them to your family policy at no additional cost. If you’re not planning to have any more kids, it’s worth considering whether it makes sense to switch to a lower level of cover that doesn’t include pregnancy and birth, so you’re not paying extra for unnecessary coverage.
This is also a good time to consider extras cover so that your children have access to subsidised services like general dental, orthodontics and more. Keep in mind that sharing an extras policy with your children may have per-person limits in addition to standard sub-limits, group limits, lifetime limits, and annual limits.
School-age children: As your kids go through school, be prepared for new and unexpected expenses. They may require orthotics from a podiatrist, glasses from an optometrist, or orthodontic work like braces and aligners. These treatments fall under extras cover, with orthodontics usually included in more comprehensive policies.
If your child participates in sports, it’s also worth considering whether they need coverage for physio, chiropractic care, or remedial massage in case of sports-related injuries. Other extras policies might include coverage for counselling and psychology to support their mental health.
Growing teenagers: The age at which your child can stay on your policy will vary among health funds, with some covering eligible dependents until the age of 31. Your children may need to meet specific criteria to be included on your cover, such as being a student dependent and not being married or in a de-facto relationship.
While they are still classified as child or student dependents by your health fund, they can typically be included in your policy at no extra cost.
Just because your kids are growing up doesn’t mean they don’t need care. However, once they reach the appropriate age, you might encourage them to consider taking out their own policy (before they turn 31 to avoid the lifetime health cover loading fee!)
Private Health Tax Advantages
In addition to the above scenarios, it’s worth noting that families with private health insurance can benefit from tax advantages.
In Australia, the government provides a private health insurance rebate based on your household’s taxable income, applicable to hospital, extras, and standalone ambulance policies. You can claim this rebate on your tax return or receive it as a discount on your health insurance premium.
Having a family private hospital insurance policy can also exempt you from paying the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS). If your combined income with your partner exceeds the MLS threshold, not holding private hospital cover may result in an additional tax burden of 1% to 1.5% at tax time.
It’s important to remember that eligibility for the Australian Government rebate and the MLS is generally based on income thresholds and may not apply to everyone.
What is the difference between public and private hospital cover?
Public hospital cover is provided by Medicare and offers treatment in a public hospital, while private hospital cover provides treatment in a private hospital, potentially offering shorter wait times and choice of doctor.
What does the term ‘level of cover’ mean in health insurance?
The level of cover in health insurance refers to the range of services covered under a policy. It can range from basic (bronze) to comprehensive (gold) coverage.
Can I have a family policy as a single parent?
Yes, absolutely! As a single parent, you can still have a family health insurance policy. Family health insurance policies are designed to cover you and your dependents, regardless of whether you are in a two-parent household or a single-parent household. The policy can provide coverage for you as the parent, and also extend coverage to your children.
What are out-of-pocket costs and co-payments?
Out-of-pocket costs refer to the expenses you are responsible for paying directly for healthcare services that are not fully covered by your insurance. Co-payments, on the other hand, are fixed amounts that you pay at the time of service for specific healthcare services or medications as a cost-sharing measure with your insurance provider.
Searching for the Best Insurance for a Family of 4? Compare Insurance Cover Today!
Selecting the best health insurance for your family involves comparing different policies and providers.
At CHI, we’re all about making it easy to find the right cover for your family.
Simply use our free online tool below to get personalised health cover quotes from Australia’s leading health fund providers in minutes!
Remember: it’s important you take into account your family’s health needs, lifestyle, and budget when making a decision.
If you need more support, contact one of your expert insurance consultants today on 1300 806 119.