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Health insurance: can I stay with my child in hospital?

Health insurance: can I stay with my child in hospital?

Going into hospital can be an unfamiliar and sometimes frightening occasion for a child, with many new experiences to face. As a parent, you’ll want to make it as smooth and undaunting for them as possible - and you might not realise that family health insurance can help with this. 

What happens when my child goes to hospital?

Children under the age of 16 will be admitted to the children’s ward, which they will not be able to leave unless accompanied by an adult. Children between 16 and 18 will usually be given a choice of whether to stay on the children’s ward or on an adult ward, and will be allowed to leave the ward unaccompanied if nurses think they are well enough to do so.

How can I make my child’s stay in hospital better?

It’s often possible to stay with your child at all times, even at night. Many children’s wards have open visiting throughout the day for immediate relatives and you can ask staff for a mattress to sleep next to them, while some hospitals have family accommodation nearby. Unless it’s an emergency admission, read this NHS guide on preparing your child to stay in hospital before he or she is admitted.

What is family health insurance?

Family private medical insurance (PMI) protects you and your baby, child or teen should you need a consultation or treatment. This can take place at an NHS hospital or a private hospital, allowing you to avoid lengthy waiting times and often to choose the specialist you would like to see. A family health policy usually covers a child up to 18, or longer if he or she remains in full time education.

In addition to treating your child for illness or injury, one of the perks of family health insurance is that some policies cover the cost of one parent staying with your child while they receive treatment. 

Not all policies offer this benefit and the maximum age of the child varies between providers, so it’s important to compare health insurance and check policy documents carefully. 

Which policies cover me to stay in hospital with my child?

Fourteen out of 49 PMI providers listed on the website of star rating experts Defaqto* include cover to stay in hospital with your child. For example, our partner Bupa offers this for one parent of a child up to the age of 16 as a benefit of its Fundamental policy, as long as the child is a named member of the policy. 

G&M’s Individual Family health insurance includes parent accommodation for up to seven nights when a child up to the age of 17 is an inpatient, up to a maximum of 30 nights per membership year or to the value of £500.

Vitality Personal Healthcare offers a full refund for accommodation when accompanying a child up to the age of 13, while WPA’s Flexible Health Elite gives a full refund for accommodation when a child aged 17 or under is a member of the policy.

Other benefits of family health insurance can include childbirth cash payments. Vitality, for example, gives £100 for the birth or adoption of each child, as well as covering pregnancy complications in specified circumstances. Members of The Exeter, meanwhile, can access Exeter Assist, a 24/7 counselling service available 365 days a year and offering support for a range of family, relationship and childcare issues, as well as housing and health and wellbeing matters.

To find out more, compare family health insurance policy features or chat to our team on 0800 862 0373 about the right PMI for your family’s lifestyle.

* May 2019.