Family health insurance will offer financial protection for private health and hospital related expenses for your family.

Health insurance for your family will give you peace of mind that you will not face unexpected medical expenses if you, your spouse or partner, or your children are ill and need medical treatment or to be admitted to hospital.

Health insurance may also allow you and your family to avail of private medical treatment, depending on your plan, which may mean that you can benefit from quicker access to medical care.

Health insurance for families is complex and there are many different health insurance products available. Health insurance quotes for these plans can be confusing and it is difficult to know what you are getting and what you will need.

Health Insurance Family Plans

Who offers family health insurance plans?

Family health insurance policies are offered by the three health insurers:

Family health cash plans are offered by:

What is a health insurance family plan?

A health insurance family plan is a private health insurance plan that offers financial protection for hospital bills and medical expenses for all family members.

Family private health insurance must offer cover for inpatient, day case, and outpatient hospital care, maternity benefits, convalescence, and psychiatric inpatient and substance abuse treatment.

Many plans offer additional forms of protection including cover for consultants fees, scans and diagnostic tests, and may offer cover for every day medical expenses, depending on the plan you choose. 

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What does a health insurance family plan cover?

Generally, health insurance plans vary according to your healthcare needs in terms of:

  • Inpatient hospital accommodation
  • Outpatient cover
  • Everyday medical expenses cover
  • Access to services provided by your health insurer
What does a health insurance family plan cover

Inpatient hospital accommodation

Hospital accommodation in Ireland is divided into public, private, and high tech hospitals. Health insurance plans will distinguish themselves by which type of hospital accommodation you wish to purchase cover for, and the price you pay each month will reflect this choice.

For family health insurance, it may make more sense to choose private care in a public hospital as paediatric inpatient care is usually carried out in public hospitals.

If you choose semi- private or private care in public hospitals, your children can receive private care from a consultant in a public hospital and, where available, can be accommodated in a semi- private or private room as well as receive any follow up care from their consultant privately.

Outpatient cover

Health insurance outpatient cover generally involves care in a hospital as a day patient or other hospital- based tests or treatment that do not require your child to stay overnight.

Private health insurance can offer cover for your child to be seen privately as a day patient or for tests or scans to be carried out privately under the supervision of their consultant.

Everyday medical expenses cover

Everyday medical expenses can include cover for consultations with GP, physiotherapist, radiology and pathology, speech therapist, occupational therapist, and alternative therapy for your child, depending on the details of your plan.

Health insurance usually offers cover for you and your children to be seen privately by a consultant This can mean that your child may be seen more quickly than in the public system and can benefit from earlier diagnosis.

Access to services provided by your health insurer

Your health insurer may offer access to an out of hours urgent care or minor injury clinic for their members.

Some insurers also offer access to online nurse and GP consultations, as well as mental health support, health screening, and various health and wellness supports. However, many of these services are not offered to children.

VHI offers a General Paediatric Clinic where your child can be seen by a paediatric consultant and can access x- ray or ultrasound services. VHI also offers a Developmental Paediatric Clinic where your child can be assessed by a multi- disciplinary team.

Family health insurance excesses

With a health insurance family plan, you pay a monthly premium that covers all members of the family. Excesses and claim limits are applied to the family as a whole.

The health insurance excess you choose may have a significant effect on the monthly price you pay for health insurance. Be aware though, that you will pay this amount each time you need to make a private inpatient claim so ensure that it is an amount that you will be able to pay if necessary. 

A health insurance excess is the amount you must pay out of pocket before you can avail of cover on your health insurance. 

A health insurance excess may apply to inpatient private hospital care and treatment, where you must pay a fixed amount each time you claim i.e. are admitted to a private or high tech hospital. 

An excess can also apply to outpatient care where you have to pay a certain amount on allowable healthcare expenses before you can be reimbursed by your health insurer.

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Family member outpatient treatment

With a family health insurance plan, if one member of the family has an illness and requires outpatient treatment, for example, their medical bills will contribute to the annual outpatient excess. If another family member subsequently has medical bills then they will not be subject to another outpatient excess.

Where there are limits in the health insurance family policy, these may apply to the total number of visits or healthcare related spending by all family members as a whole.

It is wise to ask your health insurer questions about your inpatient and outpatient excess and any cover limits in your policy at the point of purchase, before you need to make a claim.

How much is a health insurance family plan?

Here are some examples of family health insurance plans  with their monthly price. Some of the benefits each plan provides are also outlined for comparison.

All prices are based on a family with two adults aged 34, and two children aged 5 and 2, prices quoted are monthly premiums.

health insurance calculator
Example 1

Irish Life My Plan 150 Day to Day – €247.34

  • Semi private or private in public hospital
  • Semi private or private in private hospital subject to excess + €1,000 co payment for certain cardiac procedures, and €2,500 co payment on certain orthopaedic procedures
  • Semi private or private in Beacon only with €2,500 co payment for certain cardiac and orthopaedic procedures.
  • €150 inpatient excess
  • Consultant visits 50% per €100 visit subject to outpatient excess
  • GP €25 per visit
  • Physiotherapist €25 per visit up to 5 visit per year
  • Digital Doctor unlimited cover
  • Minor injury clinic 70% up to €200 per visit
Example 2

Irish Life First Cover – €118.48

  • Semi private or private in public hospital
  • No cover for private or high tech hospitals
  • No hospital excess
  • Consultant visits €50 per visit
  • Digital Doctor unlimited
  • Minor injury clinic 50% up to €100 per visit
  • Maternity Inpatient maternity consultant fees up to €300
  • Public hospital cover for maternity up to €400
Example 3

VHI First Care Extra 150 Day to Day – €222.87

  • Semi private or private in public hospitals
  • Semi- private in private hospitals
  • €150 excess per claim
  • GP €20 per visit
  • Consultant visits 460 per visit
  • Physiotherapist 420 per visit for six visits
  • Dental €20 per visit for 6 visits
  • Online doctor 6 visits
  • 100% cover for VHI paediatric clinic
Example 4

PMI 47 10 – €398.32

  • Semi private and private in public hospitals
  • Semi private and private in private hospitals
  • €75 inpatient excess
  • Gp visits 75%
  • Physio visits €40 for 12 visits
  • Dental visits €40 for twelve visits
  • MRI 100%
  • 100% cover for VHI Paediatric Clinic
Example 5

Laya Precision 300 Connect – €209.35

  • Semi private or private in public hospitals
  • Semi private or private in private hospitals
  • €125 excess for day case
  • €300 inpatient excess
  • GP visits €20 per visit
  • Consultant visits €40 per visit
  • 450 annual family outpatient excess, outpatient limit of €6,500
  • Dean Clinic or Lois Bridges outpatient mental health consultations €50 per visit for 12 visits
  • MaternityBenefits -3 nights private stay in public maternity hospital or €3,000 per year for homebirth
  • Minor injury clinic €100 per visit
Example 6

Laya Advantage 250 Choice – €400.74

  • Semi private and private in public hospitals
  • Semi private in private hospitals – shortfall of €200 per night for private in private hospitals
  • Excess €100 day case excess
  • €250 inpatient excess per claim
  • €1 annual outpatient excess, outpatient limit €6,500
  • GP visits €30 per visit
  • Consultant visits €60 per visit
  • Hospital Casualty €60 per visit
  • Physiotherapist €25 for 25 visits
  • Occupational Therapist €20 for 5 visits
  • Child Counselling €30 for 8 visits
  • Maternity – 3 nights for private stay in public hospital or €500 for a homebirth per pregnancy
  • Outpatient consultant visits €500 per pregnancy
  • First Steps fertility Package 50% of costs up to €1,000 per year, €1,000 per lifetime for egg freezing,€150 per lifetime for sperm freezing
  • Minor injury clinic €150 per visit

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Factors that might affect the cost of your family plan for health insurance

Family health insurance plans are priced according to a number of factors:

Hospital accommodation is provided by public, private, and high tech hospitals in Ireland and health insurance monthly premiums will reflect the level of hospital accommodation you choose.

You may choose to be treated privately in a public hospital.

You may choose between semi- private and private accommodation in a private hospital.

You may choose to be treated in a high tech hospital.

Your choice will be guided somewhat by what is accessible to you where you live and what is realistic for your budget. Be aware that some policies will leave you with a nightly shortfall for private accommodation.

It is important to note that the accommodation that you choose may not be available when you are admitted to hospital and also that medical reasons may dictate the type of accommodation available to you.

The price of your health insurance will, to some extent, depend on the level of excess that you are willing to take on. 

The excess you can choose will range from €1 to over €500 but bear in mind that you will pay an inpatient excess every time you need to stay in hospital. Likewise, there is little point in paying for outpatient benefits if the outpatient excess is high. If you do not reach the threshold, you will not be able to avail of the higher benefits.

Health insurance plans that include generous allowances for everyday medical expenses can be more expensive so think about how much you will realistically need these benefits.

If you require physiotherapy on a regular basis, it may make sense to choose a policy that offers cover for this.

Maternity and fertility benefits may be important for you if you are planning on starting a family, or expanding your brood but higher benefits will affect the price you pay for health insurance.

If you have young children, you may wish to choose a plan with access to and generous cover for minor injury or out of hours clinics, as you may need these benefits but you will see a difference in your monthly premium.

Children’s health insurance is cheaper than adults but, if you have a family policy with two adults and maybe one or two young adults (18-26) who are still in education or living at home, you will pay more for health insurance.

Young adults usually pay a reduced rate for health insurance. Originally this was intended to avoid young adults facing a steep increase in health insurance prices when they were no longer included in a family policy. However now many young adults are still in education and will need to be included in a family policy.

health insurance cost factors

How to keep your family health insurance cost down

Obviously, your budget plays a key role in determining the type of health insurance cover you choose, it is essential to think about your priorities in healthcare and what your family is likely to need.

By law in Ireland, children cannot be charged more than 50% of the adult price for health insurance. Laya offers free children’s health insurance when you pay for health for one child. There is also usually a discount for young adults when purchasing health insurance (age 18- 26).

It is also important to bear in mind that there are some state supports for family healthcare in Ireland.

Public inpatient care or day service care in a public hospital in Ireland is free. You may have to pay a charge to attend an Accident and Emergency Department, but not in all cases. 

If you are entitled to a medical card or a GP visit card, you will not pay to see a GP. Children under the age of 8 will not be charged to see their family GP in any case. It is worth checking your family’s entitlement for a GP visit card, as income limits are higher than in the past.

It is worth checking your entitlements as you may be purchasing health insurance to cover medical expenses that you are already entitled to.

Different policy cover for family members

It is also important to note that you do not have to purchase the same health insurance policy for all family members. Children will be unlikely to need access to a high tech hospital, for example, and you may purchase a policy that allows you access to this level of hospital care and a policy that offers private care in a public hospital for your child.

Rather than allowing your health insurance policy to automatically renew each year, it is a good idea to do some research and consider switching your plan. Plans that renew will be subject to price increases but you may be able to find similar cover from your current health insurer, or switch insurer for a better monthly price.

Family health cash plans

Family health cash plans are provided by the following providers

Family health cash plans can be an alternative to traditional family health insurance and are more affordable. 

It is important to note that family health cash plans do not offer any cover for inpatient accommodation or consultants fees etc. 

These plans offer reimbursement on a range of outpatient medical expenses, including GPs fees, consultant visits and other health expenses. They may also offer some cash back where you have to stay in hospital, give birth or adopt a child, as well as some personal accident cover.

Get a quote for family plan health insurance today

Family health insurance will give you peace of mind that you will not face high unexpected bills if you or a family member falls ill. 

Our insurance experts can guide you through the myriad options available to your family in a confusing market.

Depending on your family healthcare priorities, we can help you to find a health insurance plan for your budget and circumstances.

Call us today or fill out our online enquiry form.

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