According to the CDC, 31.6 million Americans had no health insurance in 2020, which is likely to have only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s a lot of families with only basic access to healthcare. Part of keeping your family safe is ensuring they have access to the best possible healthcare. To do that, you need a good family health insurance plan.
With so many plans available, picking the one that works best for you and your loved ones can be challenging. This guide makes selecting the right healthcare plan for your family easier, so you and your loved ones don’t have to worry.
Choose the Best Policy for Your Family
It might sound obvious, but you need to pick a policy that suits your family’s specific needs. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help determine the right plan:
- How many children do you have, and how old are they?
- Does a member of your family have specific health issues, like allergies, pre-existing conditions or disabilities?
- Do you take care of any seniors?
- Are there any genetic predispositions to certain illnesses in your family?
- Is your job or your partner’s particularly risky?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what’s best for your family, whether it’s a family floater plan or a senior plan, and if you need additional plans such as critical illness or top-up plans.
Ensure You Have Sufficient Coverage
To calculate an adequate sum that will give your family the coverage they need, work out how many family members you need to cover. Then you need to ensure that your sum will provide enough for expected medical costs for your entire family. As medical costs continue to rise, it’s best to go for an amount as high as possible. However, this will push up the premiums, so you need to balance your coverage against a level of premium that’s affordable.
If you don’t think your coverage is sufficient, you can always add a top-up or super top-up plan to cover your deductibles. A top-up plan will cover individual deductibles per claim, whereas a super top-up covers groups of them.
Look for Comprehensive Coverage Benefits
Coverage benefits vary from policy to policy, so ensure that the one you opt for has benefits that are applicable to your situation. For example, if you want children in the future, you may need to cover maternity costs. If you regularly attend outpatient appointments, you’ll want to ensure this is covered. Of course, other healthcare costs, such as accidents or diseases, are impossible to predict, so ensure these are covered as much as your budget will allow.
Add Coverage Riders
Most family health insurance plans will allow for optional coverage benefits known as “coverage riders.” These usually come at a relatively low extra cost, and you can review them whenever you renew your policy. A few common coverage riders are:
- Personal accident
- Critical illness
- Hospital daily cash benefit
- Outpatient cover
- Maternity and baby cover
Check Your Insurer’s Hospital Network
Each insurer has its own network of hospitals, so it’s vital to ensure that your preferred local hospital is within that network. This will allow you and your family access to cashless hospitalization, with the insurance company paying the bills for you. If you have to use a hospital that is out of network, you may incur significant out-of-pocket expenses. Your insurer will generally have a list of the hospitals within their network posted on their website.
Family Health Insurance FAQs
Continue reading as we walk through a few of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to family health insurance plans.
Why do I need a family health insurance plan?
Although Medicare now covers more basic healthcare than before, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there are still significant gaps if you don’t have insurance. This can lead to financial difficulties. It’s estimated that in 2019 nearly two-thirds of bankruptcies filed in the US were due to difficulty with medical expenses. Of course, there’s also a risk that illnesses can go undetected if you don’t have insurance, leading to worse long-term outcomes.
What health insurance plans are available for families?
The market for health insurance is diverse, and there are many options you can choose from. The most common are:
Family floater plans
These cover the entire family under one premium. Each member can claim up to the total sum covered. This type of plan works out cheaper than individual plans for each family member, especially if you have young children.
These plans will cover a specific illness, such as heart disease, COVID-19 or cancer, and any complications arising from them. This can be cheaper than a comprehensive plan but may leave you unprepared for the unexpected.
Critical illness plans
This type of coverage delivers a lump-sum payment should you suffer from a life-changing illness such as a heart attack, stroke or cancer. You can add this to another plan to provide extra coverage.
Senior citizen plans
These can be good options if you have an elderly relative who depends on you and your family. These plans are designed for those over sixty and cover the sort of issues you would expect for someone in this age group, such as outpatient treatments and pre-existing conditions.
This type of supplemental coverage covers some deductibles on your primary plan. It’s a relatively cheap way to boost your coverage.
How much does family health insurance cost?
Health insurance premiums vary hugely across the country and depend on various factors, from pre-existing conditions to local state regulations. Other factors include the age of those covered, the type of plan and your employment status. According to the Kaiser Foundation, the average annual cost of health insurance in the United States in 2021 was $7,739 for an individual and $22,221 for a family. However, around 75% of this is usually covered by employers.
Choosing the best family health insurance plan is challenging but vital to ensuring a bright, healthy future for you and your loved ones. Take time to consider all the options and ensure you get a policy tailored to every family member’s needs while sticking to your budget. Above all, shop around and don’t take the first offer that comes your way.