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Last updated: 06/06/2024 | Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

Child Health Insurance

Taking out a private medical insurance policy that covers your child in the event that they fall ill can provide you with much needed peace of mind. We’ll go over the kind of cover you can expect from a child health insurance policy, and how to go about getting the best policies around in this short guide.

In This Guide:

What is Child Health Insurance?

Child health insurance policies come in a range of shapes and sizes offering different levels of cover, but what they all have in common is the fact that you know that if anything does happen to your child, you can guarantee that they will receive expert treatment in a timely fashion. Most child's health insurance covers children aged under 18, but may extend to 24 if they're in full-time education.

Here in the UK, we benefit from a National Health Service, which means we are all entitled to free health care in the event that we fall ill. However, by paying a little to take out a private insurance policy, you can benefit from things like shorter waiting times and the ability to pick and choose the medical professional who handles your case, within reason.

Why Should I Take Out Health Insurance for My Children?

Child health insurance policies allow you to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from the knowledge that should anything happen to your kids, they will be seen as soon as possible by an expert healthcare professional of your choosing.

You are, of course, entitled to the same treatment on the NHS, but you may find that your child is low down on a waiting list and they may not benefit from as personalised a service as they would if they were covered by a specialised child health insurance plan.

What Types of Cover Can You Get with Child Health Insurance?

Private health insurance is a relatively broad term and each policy will offer a different level of cover. Typically, the more expensive a policy the more it will cover, but this isn't always the case, which is why it's so important to compare policies before making a decision.

To help you better understand how private healthcare insurance for children works, we've broken it down into three main types:

  • Comprehensive Cover: This is the highest level of cover you can get, ensuring that your child is covered for a wide range of medical needs — from hospital admissions and surgeries to outpatient appointments, and in some cases, dental and optical care. Opt for this if you're looking for an all-encompassing safety net that leaves no stone unturned.
  • Inpatient Cover: Tailored for those times when your child needs to stay in the hospital, this cover manages the costs associated with such stays, including surgical procedures and overnight care. It’s an essential pick for peace of mind, knowing that the more serious health events are financially taken care of.
  • Outpatient Cover: This cover supports the medical expenses that arise from treatments not requiring a hospital stay, such as doctor’s consultations and diagnostic tests. It’s an excellent option for managing day-to-day healthcare needs, ensuring your child gets timely and efficient medical attention without the need for admission.

What Does Child Private Health Insurance Cover?

Child health insurance typically provides a safety net that covers a range of medical services to ensure your child receives prompt and comprehensive care when needed. The specifics can vary based on the policy you choose, but here’s an overview of what is commonly covered:

  • Hospital stays and surgical procedures.
  • Doctor and specialist visits.
  • Laboratory and imaging tests for diagnosis.
  • Prescribed medications.
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Mental health support, including therapy sessions.
  • Essential vaccinations and well-child visits.

Some policies will allow you to add extra services onto your policy for an additional cost, which may include:

  • Dental and optical care.
  • Alternative treatments like homoeopathy or chiropractic care.
  • Overseas medical coverage for international travel.
  • Extended coverage for specific chronic conditions.

What Does Child Health Insurance Not Cover?

Child health insurance policies are comprehensive, but there are certain exclusions and limitations common across many plans. Understanding what these policies typically do not cover is crucial when selecting the right insurance for your child. Here’s a rundown of some common exclusions:

  • Pre-existing conditions.
  • Elective procedures and cosmetic treatment.
  • Experimental treatments and medications.
  • Gender reassignment surgery.
  • Injuries from high-risk activities or substance abuse.
  • Travel vaccinations for international trips.
  • Non-medical costs like missed appointment fees.
  • Certain dental and orthodontic treatments unless medically necessary.

How Much Does Child Health Insurance Cost?

The cost of child health insurance hinges on the plan's scope, with basic plans generally being more budget-friendly and comprehensive plans costing more due to their wider coverage, including specialist treatments and outpatient services. However, factors such as the child's age, overall health, and the inclusion of additional benefits like international coverage can also influence premiums. Costs can vary significantly, from a minimal monthly fee for essential care to a higher amount for extensive coverage.

Finding the right balance between thorough cover and affordability involves comparing various insurers, understanding the specifics of each plan, and considering any available discounts. This ensures you select a plan that meets both your child's healthcare needs and your financial situation.

Find the Right Private Medical Care for Your Child

Choosing the right private medical care for your child means balancing your expectations with the realities of insurance policies. It's essential to dive into the details, understand the limitations, and recognise what's truly important for your family's healthcare needs. By carefully considering the levels of cover and eligible treatment, exclusions, hospital networks, and healthcare systems, you can select a plan that provides comprehensive care and peace of mind. Remember, the goal is to ensure your child has access to the best possible healthcare whenever it's needed, allowing you to focus on their well-being and growth. With the right plan in place, you're not just investing in healthcare, you're investing in your child's future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth getting private health insurance for a child? 

Deciding whether to get private health insurance for your child is a personal choice that depends on several factors, including your financial situation, your child's health needs, and your preferences regarding their care. Private health insurance can offer quicker access to specialists, more choice in terms of doctors and hospitals, and potentially more comfortable facilities. If these aspects are important to you and you have the means to afford it, private health insurance can be a valuable investment in ensuring your child receives prompt and comprehensive medical care. However, it's important to weigh the costs against the benefits and consider how much use you anticipate making of the policy.

Can you get health insurance for children? 

Yes, you can obtain health insurance specifically designed for children, from newborns through to young adults. Insurers offer a range of plans tailored to cater to the healthcare needs of children at different stages of their development, covering services from routine paediatric check-ups and vaccinations to specialist treatments and emergency interventions. These policies can be acquired as standalone coverage for your child or children, or incorporated into a family health insurance package, allowing you to choose the option that aligns best with your family’s healthcare priorities and financial capacity.

Does my child have to live at the same address as me? 

In most cases, health insurance policies for children do not require the child to live with the policyholder to receive coverage. However, specific terms can vary by insurer and policy. It’s common for policies to cover children regardless of their living situation, including those who may be living away from home for reasons such as education.

Can my child still use the NHS if they have private health insurance? 

Yes, your child can still use the NHS for free treatment, even if they are covered by a private health insurance policy. In the UK, eligibility for NHS services is based on residency and not affected by having private insurance. Private health insurance offers an additional layer of healthcare options, such as shorter waiting times for certain treatments or access to private hospitals, but it doesn’t replace the comprehensive services available through the NHS. Many families choose to use a combination of both NHS and private healthcare services, depending on their needs and preferences at any given time.

Does a children's health insurance program require a medical check? 

Whether your child needs a medical check to get healthcare insurance depends on the insurance provider and the specific policy. Some insurers may require a medical examination or health questionnaire to assess the child's health status and any pre-existing conditions before offering coverage. However, many child health insurance policies do not require a medical examination as part of the application process, especially for basic coverage options.