Business Irish

Saturday 29 April 2017

Aviva hikes premiums by 14pc

Blow for struggling families as health insurance to rise €285

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

STRUGGLING families were dealt a new blow last night when it emerged that Aviva is to hike its health insurance premiums by 14pc -- in a move that will cost families an additional €285.

The move comes just weeks after the VHI said it was pushing up its premiums by between 15pc and 45pc.

Thousands of people switched to Aviva to avoid the VHI hikes. And it emerged last night that state-owned VHI was reducing the cover it provided for some medical conditions, at the same time that its premiums were rising.

The move by Aviva to hike its premiums by 14pc will see a family with two adults and two children having to fork out €2,315 a year on the popular Level Two Hospital plan, a rise of €285.

Aviva is to announce the rises today, and they take effect for those renewing a policy or taking one out from March 1.

A spokesman for Aviva defended the rises, saying they were a direct result of the Government increasing the cost of beds in public hospitals and a higher levy imposed on medical insurance policies.

Cheaper

The company insisted its policies would still be cheaper than those of the VHI and Quinn. It said it was not targeting older customers for higher price rises, something it accused Vhi of doing.

Quinn Healthcare has already announced a price hike of 8pc, with some plans going up by 25pc. These rises take effect for those renewing their policies from Tuesday.

From March, Aviva's Level Two Hospital plan will cost €941 per adult, up from €825.

This compares with VHI's Plan B Options, which will cost €1,430 per adult next month, and Quinn's Essential Plus, which is €995 per adult.

Health insurance broker Jeremy Tucker, managing director of Tailored Finance, said Aviva Level Two Hospital was comparable to VHI Plans B and B Options.

A spokesman for Aviva insisted that its Level Two hospital plan would be €1,178 cheaper than VHI's Parents and Kids plan for a family of two adults and two children.

Parents and Kids will go up by €300 for a family renewing their policy from next month.

Aviva had already increased the cost of its popular Level Two Everyday plan by 10pc just before Christmas.

And it emerged last night that State-owned VHI was reducing the cover it provides for some medical conditions.

The move means a family with the Parents and Kids plan will only be covered for 80pc of the cost of the likes of major eye surgery in a private hospital.

A spokesman for the regulator for private health insurance, the Health Insurance Authority, said last night it was aware of the changes and was in contact with the VHI.

Mr Tucker said: "VHI is giving itself little chance at the moment by cutting benefits across the board and announcing massive premium increases."

Most the reductions in benefits are for procedures such as hip replacements and eye problems, which tend to be in demand from older customers, health insurance experts said.

The VHI said it changes the benefits on plans every year.

Irish Independent

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