Written exclusively for Expat Network by Pacific Prime
The right family health plan doesn’t just offset your spouse and children’s medical costs, it also gives you the breathing space needed to focus 100% of your energy on your little ones when they need it most. In this article, insurance broker Pacific Prime looks at the most important things to consider when finding coverage for your children.
What does your child need?
Every family’s healthcare situation and needs are different, so the first thing you’ll need to think about is what your child’s medical needs are, which will give you a better idea of what they’ll require to be covered in their health insurance plan. No one knows your own children better than you, so here are a few questions to get you started:
- Are there any hereditary conditions in your family?
- Does your child have any pre-existing conditions (i.e. conditions that have developed prior to signing up for a new health insurance plan)?
- Does your child partake in any sports activities that might require additional, or more comprehensive cover?
- Does your family move countries often?
- What is your budget for health insurance?
- Does your child require frequent doctor’s visits?
Answering these questions will give you a clearer idea about the type of child/family health insurance plan that’s best for you.
Standalone health insurance vs family health insurance
Most parents will add their child as a dependent on their family health insurance policy. Insuring your family as a whole rather than buying an individual policy for your child can lead to certain premium discount benefits, such as free cover for the third child. This is not always the case, though, and the specific type of discount you’re eligible for will depend on the particular insurer and plan you’re opting for.
Family health insurance policies are also highly customizable, meaning you’ll have a high degree of freedom when it comes to choosing the types of benefits you want to be insured for. You’ll also be able to tailor elements like benefit limits, deductibles, and area of coverage.
On the other hand, if you’d like to secure the best individual health insurance policy for your child, your options will likely be rather limited. This option will not be available in all countries, but depending on where you live, a small number of insurers may offer ‘child alone’ plans. These plans tend to charge fairly low premiums, but it’s wise to consider the insurer’s reputation and the policy’s fine print to ensure that it’s the best option for your child.
What are the benefits?
The right coverage for your child will have a number of useful benefits that are tailored to their healthcare needs.
For example, newborns and young children will require a number of essential vaccinations, so new parents should check whether the plan covers immunizations. If you’re an expat who moves countries often, the constantly changing environment can be particularly stressful to children – sometimes even more so than it already is for adults. As such, mental health coverage might be another benefit to look into.
Some family health insurance plans also allow policyholders to select free wellness services after your first renewal. These can include things like pre-pregnancy check-ups, full body health checks, and eye tests. Family plans can also be tailored to offer international health insurance benefits, meaning your plan will cover you wherever you go. Please bear in mind, though, that most plans exclude the US, due to the high cost of care there.
In Pacific Prime’s experience, here are some of the most coveted family health insurance benefits:
- Maternity health insurance plan
- Newborn insurance
- Mental health benefits
- Hospitalization coverage
- Outpatient cover
- Dental insurance
- Vision coverage
- Alternative treatment coverage (including Traditional Chinese Medicine)
- Pre-existing conditions coverage
- Chronic condition cover
- Emergency evacuation
- Worldwide healthcare coverage
In addition to healthcare benefits, you might also want to ensure that the plan covers the cost of using an extra bed, or companion bed, for when your child may want you or another family member close by should they require hospitalization.
Be aware of the plan’s exclusions and restrictions
Beyond looking at what a plan covers, it’s also equally important to look at what it won’t cover. Insurers refer to the items that are excluded from coverage as “exclusions”, which you can locate in any insurance policy’s T&Cs.
Pre-existing conditions, meaning any ailment, condition, or injury that the policyholder has or previously had, is usually automatically excluded from cover. Providers of international health insurance plans are typically more lenient towards covering such conditions, but caveats will usually apply – such as in the form of an extra premium, or the imposition of a waiting period. Congenital/developmental conditions may also be excluded, so be sure to check the fine print if this concerns your family.
Another thing to look into is whether there’s a minimum length of hospital stay mentioned in your policy. If you choose a basic plan that only covers hospitalization, you might find that hospital treatment will have to involve at least an overnight stay for your family’s hospitalization fees to be deemed eligible for reimbursement. This means that treatments such as wound sutures that do not require an overnight stay, while conducted in a hospital, won’t be covered.
Using a broker to find the best health coverage for your child
Finding insurance is easy. Finding the best plan for you and your family, however, can be quite difficult, especially for those that are not as well versed in the world of insurance. This is where engaging the help of a trusted broker, like Pacific Prime, can make a whole world of difference when it comes to getting the best value plan. Brokers can often also offer you better deals than if you were to buy directly from an insurer. For a free quote, get in touch with Pacific Prime today.