Best health insurance plans for families

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Every parent in Australia wants to safeguard their family's well-being. One way to do exactly that is to take out private health insurance – namely, a family policy. But with so many insurers on the market and even more policies to choose from, making the right choice for your family can be daunting.

That’s why we’re here to help!

In this helpful guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know to find the best health insurance for your family in Australia. From considerations around different levels of cover to budget concerns and even inclusions like pregnancy benefits, we'll get you on the fast track to finding the right family cover.

What’s the best family health insurance for me?

In many cases, you’ll probably want to get a policy that has comprehensive cover. That means family health insurance that covers you for all essential medical services, including hospital stays, regular visits to your GP, preventive care and more.

Family health insurance is designed specifically to cover multiple parties – that is, your spouse, kids and any other dependents. While the ‘best’ policy for your family will mean different things to different people, make sure you choose one that has a broad network of healthcare providers. After all, you’ll want to have enough flexibility to make your own choices when getting medical attention.

When it’s time to get started comparing family health insurance, keep an eye out for these key features:

  • Comprehensive cover: Make sure the policy covers a range of medical services, from routine check-ups to major procedures.
  • Affordable premiums: It might make sense to go for a balance between insurance cover and affordability.
  • Family deductibles: Choose a policy with a family-friendly deductible structure, which can make your healthcare costs more manageable.
  • Wellness programs: Some policies include wellness incentives or other programs that encourage a healthy lifestyle for your family.

How much does family health cover cost?

There are lots of moving parts when it comes to how much you’ll actually pay for family health cover. In terms of premiums in Australia, the average two-parent family will spend around $100 per month (or up to $1,200 per year), but it will ultimately depend on your circumstances. Factors like the size of your family, your preferred level of cover and any pre-existing conditions or specific health needs will all contribute to what you pay.

Bear in mind that bigger families will usually end up paying higher premiums, while you’ll also pay more if you choose a comprehensive Gold tier policy. In order to get an accurate quote, compare different insurers online and enter all the information accurately. 

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What are the benefits of family health insurance?

  • Total coverage: Many family health insurance policies have cover for a wide range of treatments and services.
  • Financial protection: You can rest easy knowing you’ll be covered for the (often significant) costs of healthcare.
  • Maternity benefits: Quite a few family health insurance plans include maternity benefits, which covers things like pregnancy, IVF, delivery and postnatal care.
  • Children and dependants: Family plans will allow your kids to be covered until they turn 21 (or older in some circumstances).
  • Preventive services: Your policy will probably include cover for preventive services like vaccinations, screenings and other check-ups.
  • Flexibility: Most family health plans are flexible so you can customise your cover based on your specific needs and budget.
  • Access to network providers: Most plans come with a network of healthcare providers so you get the final say.
  • Discounts and extra benefits: Some family health insurance plans may offer discounts on things like gym memberships or wellness programs.

Is it more cost-effective to stay on singles cover or get family cover?

When you’re living by yourself or in a couple, singles cover might be the most budget-friendly option. However, once you start planning to have a family, going for family cover can be more economical than paying separate premiums for every family member.

So, when you’re deciding between single and family private health cover, think about the future needs of your family. Family cover will generally provide a broader scope of benefits, including maternity services, which are essential if you’re planning to expand your family and want to have the baby in a private hospital. It also covers your kids, so you’ll get peace of mind as they grow up. If you're a single parent, it's also worth considering specific single-parent health insurance policies.

On the other hand, singles cover might be more suitable for couples without kids.

Does family health insurance cover pregnancy and IVF?

Family health insurance can be invaluable if you’re thinking about growing your family – whether via natural pregnancy or through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Many family policies include broad cover for all sorts of pregnancy-related services. This means you won’t be left to foot the entire bill for things like prenatal care, delivery and postnatal support. Some plans even extend their cover to include fertility treatments like IVF. Just be aware that the specifics of what’s actually covered will differ from provider to provider, so do your research before signing on the dotted line!

How long can you stay on family health insurance?

Worried about what will happen to your kids once they ‘outgrow’ the family policy? The good news is they can stay on your plan even after leaving school or flying the coop.

In Australia, your little ones can be covered as a ‘child dependant’ until they turn 21. But wait, there’s more! If they are studying or meet certain criteria, they might qualify as a ‘student dependant’ or ‘adult dependant’, which means they could stay on your policy until they turn 31. The only drawback is that they will probably lose their cover if they get married or are in a de facto relationship.

Make sure you review your policy often to ensure your kids are still covered at different life stages.

Which health insurance is best for a family?

The best health insurance for your family is, unfortunately, not a one-size-fits-all policy. Whether you are taking out a brand-new policy or looking to upgrade your existing private health cover, you’ll want to think about your family’s unique needs, your budget, your health needs and your preferences for the level of cover. Look for policies that meet all your needs while still giving you plenty of benefits.

Also factor in things like the size of your family and whether you plan on having more, in which case you’ll want a policy that has comprehensive maternity cover. Make sure you pay attention to the waiting periods for different services (especially pregnancy and obstetrics, which will be 12 months), as well as any exclusions that might apply.

Another thing to do is to look into your insurer’s network of preferred healthcare providers. While affordability is often a major influence on your final decision, you’ll want to have the freedom to pick and choose your doctor or hospital for treatment.

Reading reviews and asking for recommendations from friends and family can be helpful, but there’s nothing easier than jumping online and comparing family health insurance policies.

Final word

You obviously want the best for your family – that’s why you’re here! So when you’re weighing up the pros and cons of family cover and trying to decide on the best policy, just keep their best interests at heart. Take into account your family's unique health needs, budget and future plans, and then compare family health insurance online to streamline the entire process. It’s that simple!

Simon Jones
Written by
Simon has spent more than 15 years covering the technology and finance sectors as both a journalist and content marketer. He is fascinated by the convergence of AI and big data, and spends what little free time he can scrape together either wrangling two kids or expanding his gin collection.

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