Three key reasons to keep your children fully covered
As renewal notices start dropping through letter boxes, Charlie Weston asks if it is worth dropping the children from your health cover
AS thousands of families receive their renewal notices, at what is the busiest time of the year for health insurance, many will be questioning the need for health cover.
They will also be asking, if they believe it's important, how to find the best deals?
Many parents with young children will be asking themselves - do we really need cover for the children as they'll be covered through the public system anyway?
Health insurance expert Dermot Goode says: "The answer is absolutely."
Mr Goode, of TotalHealth Cover.ie, says there are three key reasons to keep children covered.
Every child will be charged €75 per night up to 10 nights maximum in all public hospitals (€750) unless they have a medical card. If you have health insurance, this is fully covered. When you consider that children can be insured for as little as €125 per child, this represents good value.
Health insurance for young children is not about accommodation; it's about access. Children will be put on waiting lists for non-essential surgery just like adults. For example, a child with tonsillitis could wait six months or longer to see an ENT specialist whereas they could have their surgery completed in a matter of weeks if they go the private route.
If you take your child off your policy and add them on at a later date, they have to re-serve all their waiting periods again. For example, if you were adding your 12-year-old child back on to your policy, all existing medical conditions will be subject to a five-year waiting period during which they will have no cover for these conditions or anything directly related to same.
"In summary, you should check out all possible options to keep your young children insured," Mr Goode said.
So, what are the best deals for young families in the market right now?
There are plenty of alternatives when it comes to the best value packages for families that cover public and private hospitals.
Cost saving tips
Split your cover
It doesn’t make sense to have everyone on the same level of cover. Everyone (adults and children) has different requirements, and you should select a plan for each person reflecting their needs only. This is a great way of reducing your overall costs.
Many consumers assume that these are applied automatically once your dependent turns 18, which is not the case. Contact your insurer to claim your student rate to avoid any unnecessary over-payments.
Take on a policy excess
This is one of the best ways of reducing your costs. Savings vary, but reductions of at least 10pc to 20pc may be possible by accepting a small excess in private hospitals only.
Watch for special offers
Many consumers miss out on valuable cost savings by not monitoring market developments; for example, all insurers have offers in the market right now to help families maintain their cover at an affordable cost.
Give up the private room
Private accommodation in private hospitals is never guaranteed. Unless this is critical for you, consider dropping a level for similar cover but big savings.
For example, this measure alone could reduce
the cost for one adult by approximately €500 per year.
Check out the corporate plans
Check out the best corporate deals on the market across all four providers and remember, anyone can access these plans.
Free children’s cover
If you have any children under the age of three, GloHealth is the only insurer offering free cover on some of their mid-range plans.
Get expert advice
Health insurance is complex but it’s arguably one of the most important insurance covers to have. Don’t cut corners with your cover — seek expert advice from a qualified advisor to ensure that your plan is the best value cover for you.