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Health insurance for children

Health insurance for children

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Last updated: 08 November 2021

Private healthcare for your children can increase the options available to you in the event that your child falls ill. Compare health insurance policies and find out how they can help you pay for your child’s treatment.  

What is child health insurance?

Child health insurance is a private healthcare policy that covers children under the age of 18, offering an alternative to using the NHS. You can take out individual policies for each child or get a policy that provides healthcare insurance for your entire family.

Why use child health insurance?

There are various potential benefits to taking out a healthcare insurance policy for your children. These can include:

  • Faster and more convenient access to medical treatment for your child. 
  • Treatment at a private medical centre or hospital of your choice.
  • Access to diagnostic tests and treatments unavailable to NHS patients.

If you choose private health insurance for your child, you are still entitled the same treatment on the NHS, though a specialised private policy is likely to benefit your child and increase the choice and speed of their treatment.

What you need to know

It is important to remember that when searching for cheap health insurance online there are many things to look out for as well as just costs. For example, accident and emergency treatments aren’t covered, though the NHS can still cover these needs. 

Pre-existing conditions are often excluded from the policy. So, if your child has a pre-existing illness such as eczema, for example, eczema treatments may not then be covered. Depending on the policy you have chosen, your child may be put in a private patient unit within an NHS hospital, or end up on an NHS ward rather than in a private room.

Under the policy, your child may only be able to use certain hospitals and treatment centres. When you buy a policy, you’ll generally have to choose from a list of medical centres where your child will be covered. The wider the selection, the higher your premium will be. 

Health insurance providers also set maximum amounts for procedures, so if you choose a specialist with higher charges than the limit for that particular procedure, you’ll be out of pocket as you will have to cover the difference in cost.

Types of cover

Because of the number of different levels of cover available, policy costs can vary. Different policies cover a different range of symptoms and illnesses, as well as a different range of treatments, so be sure to check the exclusions before you apply.

There are many variables when choosing a health insurance policy for your child, so deciding between different policies can be quite daunting. They do however fall mostly into the following categories:

  • Basic: The cheapest policy available. Your child will be covered for claims related to treatment costs when they are admitted to hospital.
  • Mid-range: Medium cover includes the basic cover but often will include cover for day patient and outpatient treatment costs.
  • Comprehensive: The most expensive policy, which generally includes all basic and medium cover as well as the costs of physiotherapy or mental health treatment.

Once you have chosen a policy you can often add on extra cover that isn’t already included. Sometimes this can be in the form of a cash plan, in which you are given a cash sum towards the cost of treatment if your child visits a medical or dental professional.

Please make sure you read all the term and conditions, as well as any exclusions, of the policy that you end up choosing to make sure that your child is appropriately covered by their health insurance.

How much does it cost?

Health insurance policies come with two main costs: the monthly premium and the excess. You will pay the monthly premium until the policy ends, and the excess will be an amount you pay towards any claims you make. The cost of child healthcare insurance will depend on the policy you choose and the location you live in. 

Policies vary greatly in terms of cover and it can be daunting finding the right one for you and your family. Using our health insurance comparison service can simplify this process by helping you find the right deal from a wide range of providers.


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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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