Health insurance for families

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A guide to health insurance for families

Updated 19 March, 2024
Written by Joshua Malin
Reviewed by Steven Spicer

Families health insurance explained

Private health insurance for families explained by Dr Ginni Mansberg.
Dr. Ginni Mansberg

Why take out family health insurance?

Since very few health funds offer health insurance for children only, a family health insurance policy may be the best way to cover your young ones. Other benefits of a family policy include:

  • Kids’ dental costs can really add up, especially if they need braces or any other orthodontic work. With a family extras policy, you could significantly reduce the cost of dental treatment.
  • If your child is injured at school and an ambulance is called, you may be responsible for the ambulance fee. However, an appropriate ambulance cover policy could cover these costs.
  • You may need to be on a family policy for your baby to be covered from birth. This can be important if your newborn is moved to a private intensive care unit (ICU), which can be very expensive.

Choosing cover for your family

Once you’ve decided you want a health insurance policy for your family, the next step is to compare and browse. Here are a few things to look out for on a family health insurance policy:

  • The maximum age that your dependants can be covered on your family policy differs between health funds. This may also depend on if they’re studying, their relationship status and more.
  • Health funds will often have no-gap or known-gap agreements with different doctors and hospitals, which you may want to consider when comparing cover.
  • You will need to decide if you want hospital cover, extras cover or both under a combined cover policy.

Expert tips for finding the right family health insurance

Our health insurance expert, Steven Spicer, has some useful tips on how to choose the right family health insurance policy for you.

Steven Spicer
Executive General Manager – Health, Life & Energy

Look for a family-friendly policy

When comparing family health insurance, keep an eye out for health funds that provide additional benefits for children. Look for features such as no excess or co-payments for hospital admissions, or even no gap on some extras services such as general dental check-ups.

Speak to an expert

There are many options out there to cover your family with private health insurance. This is why speaking to a health insurance specialist can be so important. With health cover, you can have the peace of mind of knowing that everyone in your family has greater access to high-quality health care.

Avoid the MLS

If your household income requires you to hold hospital cover to avoid the MLS, all members of your family must be included on the policy. Only including the adults or highest income earner won’t exempt you from the MLS.

How does family health insurance work?

Types of cover

What are the tax benefits of health insurance for families?

Can I add my parents to my family’s health insurance policy?

Can I get cover just for my child but not for myself?

What do I do with my health insurance when my children leave home?

What’s the best health insurance for families?

What if my child is injured at school?

When to take out family health insurance

Each family has unique health needs, so it’s important to consider the life stage you and your family are at when it comes time to choose health insurance. Here are some scenarios when you should consider taking out health insurance for your family.

You’re starting your family

You have a couple of young ones

Your kids are in school

Your teenagers are growing up

Why take out health insurance for your family?

With private health insurance for families, your loved ones will be able to claim on treatment out of hospital or through the private system, provided the service is included on your policy, the relevant waiting periods have been served and all claiming requirements have been met.

When thinking about whether to take out family health insurance, here are a few positives to consider:

  • It’s a financial safety net for serious and minor health concerns. This is something many Australians eagerly seek out to provide peace of mind. A family health insurance policy with extras and private hospital cover insures you, your partner and your children for a broader range of issues.
  • Choice in treating doctor. With a private hospital insurance policy, you can have a say in the doctors that treat you as a private patient (subject to availability).
  • Save on expensive healthcare costs. Trying to save money for your children’s future, your retirement or both? The possibility of having to fork out cash for expensive healthcare is not ideal. With an appropriate level of private health insurance, your health fund will contribute towards eligible costs.
  • Recover in your own private room in the hospital (should one be available).
  • Treatment when you need it. If you can avoid public hospital waiting lists, you and your children will be happier for it.
  • Subsidised treatments and services. Whether it’s dental check-ups or trips to the physiotherapist, parents can appreciate the value of an extras policy that can contribute towards these costs.

One of the great things about family private health insurance policies is that some funds will allow you to upgrade your couples policy to cover your dependent children at no extra cost. This is true regardless of whether you’re a family of three, four or even more! Depending on your insurer, children up to the age of 18-31 may also be covered. All you need to do is provide some details about your child to add them to your policy.

Meet our health insurance expert, Steven Spicer

Steven Spicer
Executive General Manager – Health, Life & Energy

As the Executive General Manager of Health, Life and Energy, Steven Spicer is a strong believer in the benefits of private cover and knows just how valuable the peace of mind that comes with cover can be. He is passionate about demystifying the health insurance industry and advocates for the benefits of comparison when it comes to saving money on your premiums.

1 Australian Dental Association. When should my child first see the dentist? Accessed March 2023.