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Family health insurance: getting it right for your children
Posted on Dec 15, 2016 by Rob McBroom
With the DHA regulations coming into full force at the end of this month, it is now essential that you secure insurance for your dependents including children and spouses, as their visa approval will depend on it. The question is, how can you identify the type of coverage your family needs?
The health and wellbeing of your family is important, so securing a family health insurance plan that provides adequate coverage can be a top priority for you. The best family insurance policy doesn’t just cover your medical bills, it gives you the breathing space needed to make sure that you can focus on your family when they need it most.
In this article, we’re going to highlight some of the key points you’ll want to think about when looking for, or changing, a family health insurance policy.
What does your family need?
The first thing you’ll want to do is think about what sort of medical needs your family has, and how you’ll likely use your health insurance policy. This means considering:
- Do you or a family member have a pre-existing condition?
- Are there any hereditary conditions in your family?
- How often do you or your family need to visit the doctor?
- Do you or your family partake in activities that might require additional coverage (e.g. skiing)?
- What are your future plans?
- What is your budget?
Answering these questions as best you can will help you develop a clearer picture of the sort of family health insurance policy you want.
Understanding the plan
Insurers will offer a wealth of choices to families looking for health coverage, so it’s worth understanding the different ways plans can work before you purchase them. Plans will offer varying degrees of cost for treatments, they can offer additional benefits and can have different rules regarding which facilities you may attend and still be covered.
Another important aspect to think about is how the premium works. Some plans will charge you only for your first child meaning that your subsequent children will also get coverage at no extra cost. Insurers may also adjust your plan’s annual limit by what is called a ‘combined annual benefit pool’. This provides you with more flexibility as the more family members you have on the plan the higher the increments in the limit go.
Paying your subscription can be done annually or monthly, with some providers offering discounts for selecting one over the other.
What are the benefits?
A good family plan will provide a number of useful benefits, such as annual health checks, and can allow you to select some free wellness services every year after your first renewal. These can include dental polishing, optical checks, full body health checks, vaccinations, and even pre-marital/pre-pregnancy check ups.
Family coverage plans can also be tailored to provide you with coverage around the world (though most exclude the United States). This can include Emergency Evacuation, which can be handy when your family intends to take trips around the world, either for a holiday or to relocate. International plans offer cover wherever you might go.
When looking for insurance, here’s a good list of things you might want to consider for your family health insurance plan:
- Maternity Insurance Coverage
- Newborn Child Coverage
- Inpatient Insurance coverage
- Outpatient Insurance coverage
- Vaccinations and Preventative Medicine
- Alternative Therapies and Complementary Medicine
- Dental Insurance Coverage
- Pre-existing Condition Coverage
- Chronic Condition Coverage
- Emergency Evacuation
- Room and Board
- Miscellaneous Hospital Services
- Intensive Care
- Private Nursing
- Surgeon and Attendance Fees
- Anesthetist's Fees
- Operating Theatre Fees
- Inpatient Physician's Fees
- Inpatient Specialist's Fees
- Cancer Treatment and Kidney Dialysis
- Pre-admission and Post-hospitalisation Outpatient Care
- Emergency Outpatient Benefit for Accidents
You may also want to add coverage for the cost of using an extra bed, or companion bed, for when you may want a family member close by during hospitalization.
What are the restrictions/exclusions?
While many plans provide a good range of benefits to keep you and your family healthy, some restrictions or exclusions may apply. Pre-existing conditions can be the most common exclusion, so make sure you’re really clear on what your plan does and does not cover. Congenital or developmental conditions may also not be covered by your plan, so check the small print about those if required.
When hospitalization occurs, make sure you know how high or low the caps are on outpatient benefits, and whether there is a minimum length of hospital stay outlined in your plan. Some plans might not cover treatments that do not require hospital confinement, such as receiving a cast, wound sutures, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. It’s also a smart idea to find out if there is a network of hospitals and clinics that are approved under your plan (and which ones are not).
Some plans may also outline a moratorium on when the plan may take effect. Working out how long the period of time is before you may make claims can save you a stressful and frustrating time later, so again pay attention to the details in the plan.
Deductibles and excesses essentially outline what your out-of-pocket cost may be in the event you need to make an insurance claim. A deductible is the amount you will have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company will pay the rest, and an excess is the amount you have to pay after you make a claim on your insurance.
These charges aren’t to penalize you for making a claim, in fact, they’re an industry mechanism designed to reduce unnecessary claims and to keep premiums low.
Billing, payments, and support
Once you know how your family health insurance plan will be set up, it’s a great idea to understand how to use it when you need to. What your plan’s payment methods are is important to know so you’re not trying to figure it out on the fly in the hospital. Direct Billing methods can make the process of claims and bill payment a lot easier, although not all plans offer this benefit.
Getting support from your insurer is also a good aspect to be aware of. Most major insurers have a 24/7 support network available, enabling access to a team of qualified nurses and healthcare professionals who can provide you with guidance on your child’s health. If your plan’s provider does have an emergency or advice phone line, don’t forget to save it into your phone!
Many large insurers now also have online platforms available for their customers, making it even easier to submit claims or even find information on your plan. Be sure to check with your provider if they have an online service and how you can use it.
Using a broker to help you navigate your family health insurance options
One of the best ways to ensure your family gets the coverage they need is to seek help from an experienced broker like UAE Medical Insurance. Their expert advisors have been providing quality insurance plans to families for over 15 years, and can also offer you better premium deals than if you were to buy from the insurers directly. Contact us now to talk through your needs and get a free quote!