independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Health insurers terminally ill

IF ever there was an industry that was destroying itself, it has to be the health insurance sector in this country.

Yesterday, Aviva became the latest private medical insurer to announce a premium hike, just two months into the year.

Already Laya Healthcare has announced two rises this year, while GloHealth and VHI have both announced one rise in 2013.

Families, in particular, are being crushed by the cumulative effect of all these price increases.

Some mainstream plans have already increased by up to 135pc over the past four years – excluding the latest increases, according to new calculations by Dermot Goode of healthinsurancesavings.ie.

In 2011, some 66,000 people cancelled their health insurance cover, with a further 65,000 to 70,000 cancelling in 2012.

Based on those figures and rate increases, Mr Goode believes that up to 100,000 people could cancel their cover in 2013, particularly if the rates continue to spiral upwards.

The most worrying aspect of this is that it's predominantly younger, healthier people who are cancelling their cover.

These latest increases could add around €300 to the cost of an average family plan.

All this points to the sector being in a death spiral.

Irish Independent

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