If you’re a parent, there are probably a whole host of questions that keep you up at night. But one of the most common, especially for new parents, is this: Do kids need private health cover?
With Medicare in Australia, it might seem like the answer to that question is no. After all, Medicare covers costs for all in-hospital treatments.
But what happens if your kid runs a fever and needs to see the doctor? Or if you notice him squinting and decide to visit the optometrist? While you may get some reimbursements from Medicare, you’ll still be up for out of pocket expenses.
Choosing private health insurance for your kids isn’t necessarily about cost—it’s also about peace of mind. In saying that, cost is an obvious consideration. But in many cases, your kids can essentially get insured for free.
The cost of a family policy is often the same as a couples’ policy, which means that your kids are covered at no extra cost to you. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it is worth looking for a policy that offers this kind of value.
Best Features for Kids’ Health Cover
When shopping around for health cover for kids, there are two features that stand out. The best health funds will often include both of these features as part of a family policy.
Free extras for kids
Extras cover can offer great value for families. It’s the type of health cover you use for everyday health services, like going to the dentist, optometrist, and chiropractor. Health funds may offer incentives for families by providing a selection of free services.
For example, your kids may be able to access a free dental and optical check-up once a year. These services are usually capped—either by dollar amount or number of visits—but still represent value.
To access these extras, you may have to visit a specific provider who has an agreement with your health fund.
No excess for kids
An excess is the amount you have to pay for a service before your health fund will kick in. In general, the higher your excess the lower your premium payments. Some funds waive the excess for kids on hospital treatments.
That means if your child has to be admitted to hospital, your fund won’t require an excess or co-payment before they will provide benefits.
Do Kids Need Private Health Cover?
Deciding whether or not to get private health cover for your kids is a personal choice. In Australia, you aren’t required to get cover for your children, but for many parents it is a must-have.
When you get a family policy, your kids are usually covered up to the age of 25 if they are full-time students. This is a relief for many parents, who would otherwise worry about their child’s health care.
One compelling reason for kids’ health cover is the fact that in most states and territories, emergency ambulance services are not free. If your child needs an ambulance (and let’s face it, many children do at some point), it could cost you upwards of $1000.
Most health cover plans include emergency ambulance services, which is a weight off your mind. For parents with especially active or accident-prone kids, this can be a lifesaver.
Private health cover also steps in where Medicare doesn’t, providing cover for costly services that many families use regularly: orthodontics, glasses, physio, and speech therapy, just to name a few.
Best Health Cover for Kids
So which health funds offer the best cover for kids? When comparing kids’ health cover, you will likely be looking at family policies, not standalone cover for your children. Here are some policies to consider:
No excess for kids’ hospital admissions on select family policies. No gap on dental checkups when you visit a network dentist.
Gap-free kids’ dental, physio, podiatry, and glasses when you visit a Members First provider. Yearly limits apply. There’s also no excess for kids up to 25 when they are admitted to hospital.
Kids are covered until the age of 23 or, if they’re studying full time, 25. No excess for kids when admitted to hospital. Certain policies allow two dentist free visits per year (up to $250 each visit) for kids under 23.
No excess for kids on a family policy and 100% back on yearly dental check-ups when you visit a Members’ Choice dentist. You can also get 100% back on optical services when visiting designated providers.
No hospital excess for children under 21 and the flexibility to see any extras provider that is recognised by nib.
Health cover for kids is a personal decision, and what’s right for you may not be what’s right for other families. To compare costs and features on health cover that fits your situation, visit healthinsurancecomparison.com.au.