Family planning is perhaps one of the most common reasons why people look to refresh their private health insurance. No longer are you taking care of yourselves as a couple, there's a whole new human to add to the equation.
While you're trying for your child, there's maternity cover to take into consideration. Then, once you have your new addition, it's time to protect your child as you do yourself through comprehensive health insurance.
With some health funds, children can be added at no further cost when upgrading from couples cover to family cover.
It's an ongoing task, making sure a family health insurance policy works for the whole household, and especially for a new arrival, with almost 300,000 babies born in Australia every year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That's around 821 people a day – and if we consider that half of our population has health insurance, around 400 new people who will need protecting.
So where do you start? Here's a quick guide to how children fit into your private health insurance policy:
What does it cost?
Let's start with some good news. With some health funds, children can be added at no further cost when upgrading from couples cover to family cover. This is no doubt welcome news for those trying to limit the cost of their cover, especially following April's 5.59 per cent average premium-rate rise.
Saying that, you'll still have to start planning your health insurance policy well in advance. There is a 12-month waiting period before health insurance benefits can be claimed for pregnancy, so you should take out a family policy or have pregnancy benefits in your cover well before becoming pregnant if possible.
What extras do you need?
When building a quality health insurance policy, you'll have to consider extras. On top of hospital cover, you can receive benefits for dental, optometrist, podiatry and more – and so can your children.
Children are automatically included in extras cover under a family cover at no further cost
However, you might not need to add extras to your child's policy in some cases, as they may receive some already. For instance, Medicare's Child Dental Benefits Schedule (formerly the Medicare Teen Dental Plan) offers $1,000 in dental benefits every two years for eligible children.
Talk this through with your health insurance broker when putting your policy together.
When building a quality health insurance policy, you'll have to consider extras.
How long does it last?
Health funds have different rules on how long your child's insurance benefits last, meaning it's a prudent question to ask on day one when speaking to your broker.
It all depends on at what age and under which circumstances your child goes from a dependent to an independent person in the eyes of your insurer. Some say a dependent person is unmarried and under 18 years of age, while other health funds will include your children for a little longer.
The oldest example is generally a child up to the age of 25, considering they are unmarried and still a full-time student – though again, it depends on your insurer.
What else you need to look out for
Be sure to ask plenty of questions when comparing health insurance providers to get the best results. Some other examples include:
- Are there any conditions to my family health insurance policy?
- Will there be an excess to pay if your child requires hospital treatment?
- Do no-gap extras benefits apply for kids?
If you'd like to prepare for parenthood with a complete family health insurance policy, get in touch with HICA. Our services are free, helping you get the most of your budget. What's more, we are not connected to any health fund, meaning we can compare them all and find a policy that suits you.
Give us a call on 1300 44 22 01 if you need any help.