My husband and I are planning our second baby. Our first baby was very premature and had to be kept in hospital for some time. We didn't have private health insurance at the time. The costs which arose as a result of having a premature baby really put pressure on us financially. We have taken out private health insurance since but as we are planning our second baby now, we are concerned I may go premature again – and of the costs which would arise if so. So we are considering upgrading our plan – or changing to another provider if necessary. What kind of cover do private insurers typically provide for premature births – and is there any plan you would recommend which offers good cover for premature births?
Premature Births are treated the very same as full term births by the health insurance providers. The most important thing to do is add your newborn to your policy straight away. It’s a common mistake people make, they think that because the health insurer knows you are pregnant your child will be added on automatically to the plan. However, without a name and a date of birth the provider cannot do so. The four health insurers – Aviva, Glo Health, Laya Healthcare and VHI – allow 13 weeks for your newborn to be added to the plan. If you do not add your baby on within this time frame they will unfortunately be subject to the new customer waiting periods which are: 26 weeks for any new conditions that may arise (illnesses that commence after you join) and 5 years for any pre-existing conditions (as of the 01/05/15 this is defined as any illness that existed up to 6 months before becoming insured on a plan). Accidents or injuries are not subject to any waiting period so will be covered from inception.
Regardless of whether you choose to go publicly, semi-privately or privately for maternity you can still add your baby to your health insurance plan and they can then be treated as a private patient. This means that you will not be subject to the fee of €75 per night. In relation to upgrading your cover, this really won’t make a difference as all plans offer the same treatment for premature births as full term births.
Some plans offer ‘parent accompanying child expenses’ which can be used for travel expenses, parking in the hospital and accommodation costs if you are visiting your child in hospital. This is an excellent benefit for people who have premature babies. The benefit varies from one provider to another, some plans offer up to €100 back per day up to 14 days. This can be used for children of any age not just premature babies; it is a great benefit that many people are not aware they have.