How to choose the best health insurance for families


6 minutes

24 July 2020

Best health insurance for families

What’s the best health cover for you and your family?

It’s the option that covers the important stuff for you and the kids – while avoiding cover you are unlikely to need. It’s the option that gives you great value back – while still fitting within your budget. It’s the option that delivers peace of mind and leaves you feeling like you’ve done a good job sorting your health cover.

Sound like an impossible combination?

No, it’s not. In three steps, we’re going to show you how to find it.

  1. Make a list and tick it off
  2. Look at common claims
  3. Compare and save

1. Make a list and tick it off

If you don’t know what you need, shopping for cover is a bit like going to the grocery store without a list. You’ll wander the aisles unsure of what you need and likely miss out on some important things you might need later.

Make a list of things you know you want cover for, and then shop.

This list of ‘must-haves’ will do three things for you.

  • It will save you time as you look through the (rather confronting) list of services included on different levels of cover.
  • It could help you save money by identifying what you’re unlikely to need cover for.
  • It will help you protect your family by keeping the important stuff at the front of your mind while you shop.

This tip might seem simple, but the trick is understanding what services match your family’s needs.

Below you will find two quick cheat sheets for this process. One is for hospital cover, and one is for extras cover.

Note: These lists apply to HBF’s health cover. Service inclusions on other health funds’ cover options may vary.

Hospital cover cheat sheet

Consider things that could send you to hospital. These are the things you might need hospital cover for.

Ask yourself:
If the answer is yes, consider this service:
And which health cover includes that service?
Do you want just the basics – the most budget-friendly hospital cover just in case?
Accident cover
Do you have kids under age 10?
  • Ear, nose and throat
  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
Do you want cover for broken bones and common sports injuries?
  • Bone, joint and muscle
  • Joint reconstruction
Do heart conditions run in your family, or are you over 45?
Heart and vascular systems
Silver Hospital or higher
Are you over 55?
  • Joint replacements
  • Cataracts
Are you planning on having more kids in the future?
Pregnancy and birth
Does your family have a history of any certain conditions?
Search for your condition in hospital cover
Gold Hospital Elevate is our highest level of cover for peace of mind

Extras cover cheat sheet

Do you or the kids wear glasses? Maybe the little ones are going to need braces in a few years? What about Physio? Chiro? Mental health? This is where extras cover comes in.

The more of these you put on your list, the more likely it is that your family could benefit from extras cover.

Ask yourself:
If the answer is yes, consider this service:
And which health cover includes that service?
Does anyone wear glasses or contacts?
Do you want cover for dental check ups?
Could you see yourself getting injured and needing a physio or chiro?
Physiotherapy or Chiropractic
Do you want cover for mental health?
Do your kids have trouble communicating?
Speech therapy
Will anyone need braces?
*Any extras cover currently available for sale

Beyond services, you’ll also want to consider annual limits, and what benefits you’ll get back – but we’ll talk about that later.

Get 60% or more back on Extras

Enjoy great benefits from any HBF approved provider with Flex 60 Extras.

2. Want cover for the unknown? Take a hint from common claims

If you’re having trouble making a list – or wondering what unexpected things might crop up – it’s worth looking at what other people claim for most often. To help you with that, we’ve done a little digging.

Have a look at how HBF members (and their kids) used their cover in 2019.

Commonly claimed hospital procedures for kids under 16

Tonsils and ear, nose and throat procedures

Thousands of kids claim for tonsils or ear, nose and throat conditions every year. A whole range of ear, nose and throat (ENT) procedures are common amongst kids, so parents – pay attention to this one!

Coverage to look for:

  • Tonsils, adenoids and grommets
  • Ear, nose and throat

Dental surgery

Everyone knows about wisdom teeth, but Dental Surgery also includes cover for common hospital procedures such as cleft palate and other conditions.

Coverage to look for:

  • Dental surgery

Bones and muscles

Think about broken bones from falls, accidents or sporting injuries. Also, consider issues like scoliosis or hip dysplasia that can start at birth or develop during childhood.

Coverage to look for:

  • Bone, joint and muscle
  • Back, neck and spine
  • Joint reconstruction

Related: Don’t wait: 3 kids hospital procedures to get covered for

Commonly claimed hospital procedures for 30-45 year olds

Hospital psychiatric services

Hospital psychiatric services covers treatment for mental, addiction or behavioural disorders. For example, treatment for depression or eating disorders.

This was the number one most common treatment claimed by 30-45 year olds.

Think about that for a minute before you assume your only problems will be injuries. Maybe consider adding psychology to your list of ‘must haves’ for extras cover – you know, so that you can take care of your mental health before you might need hospital treatment for it.

Coverage to look for:

  • Hospital psychiatric services
    Tip: Coverage for Hospital psychiatric services is restricted for every level of cover except Gold Hospital Elevate. That means large out-of-pockets may apply for this type of hospital treatment.

Bones and muscles

Just like with kids, bone and muscle claims were very common amongst adults. One difference is that adults are more likely to deal with back and neck injuries (even supermum and superdad throw their backs out sometimes).

Coverage to look for:

  • Bone, joint and muscle
  • Back, neck and spine
  • Joint reconstruction

Gastrointestinal endoscopy

No one likes to think about this one! It’s the service category for colonoscopies and other investigations into your digestive system.

But consider this – it’s claimed so often that it has its own category. Get covered for it, and you really won’t have to think about it anymore.

Coverage to look for:

  • Gastrointestinal endoscopy

Most commonly claimed extras services:

Long story short, the most commonly claimed extras services are Dental, Optical, Physio and Chiro.

3. Compare your cover options and save where you can

Phew! We had a bit to get through there.

The good news is, once you’ve got that list of ‘must-haves’, you’re ready to compare health cover with confidence.

There’s just one more thing we still have to talk about for extras cover – what you’ll actually get back when you claim.

This one is up to your budget. If you’d prefer to pay higher premiums and get more back when you claim, go for higher level cover. If you’d like to save on premiums and possibly pay a bigger out-of-pocket when claiming time comes along, maybe look at lower level cover options.

That’s it! You’re now prepared to find the best health cover for your family!

Good luck in your search. Enjoy the saving tips below, and check out our cover options when you’re ready to dive in.

Saving tips:

Get your family covered with HBF

We make it easy to compare health cover options and find a plan that suits your family.