Thursday 18 December 2014

Families can save €1,300 with changes to health cover

Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor

Published 18/03/2014 | 02:30

Health insurance: costs ever rising

Families can save thousands of euro on health insurance by dropping cover for hi-tech hospitals and by putting children on different plans to the adults, a new analysis of the market shows.

Savings of €1,300 alone can be made by putting a college-goer on a student plan as opposed to an adult policy, according to Dermot Goode of Healthinsurancesavings.ie.

Thousands of people are being forced to review their cover after six price rises already this year from the four providers.

It now costs between €1,200 and €1,500 per adult for a standard policy that will get you a semi-private room in a private hospital. That is almost double the premium for the same benefits before 2007.

Mr Goode recommended putting children on a lower-cost plan to the adults.

VHI has a half-price offer on cover on some of its plans for all children, while Glo offers free cover for under three-year-olds on most of its plans.

The health insurance expert warned families that if their policy says it covers a private room in a private hospital they might not get one as a private room is never guaranteed.

"By dropping one level with the same insurer, your potential savings could range from €497 to €2,257 per adult," he said.

Mr Goode said many families were paying over the odds for students as they assume that the insurer will automatically apply the discounted rate once their child turns 18. But this is not the case, he said.

"Make sure you advise the insurer of this change. Depending on the plan you're on, you could save €700 or higher per student dependent," he said.

And many parents who fork out for cover for their adult dependents are paying too much, Mr Goode said.

"Splitting the policy is highly recommended. By putting these dependents on a good quality mid-level plan, you may be able to save between €509 and €795 per dependent adult."

EXCESS

And he said that people prepared to pay an excess – which has to be paid by the policy holder – per claim for private hospitals could make big savings.

"Savings will vary by plan but could be as much as €575 per adult," he added.

Corporate plans are available to everyone and in many cases may suit a family's requirements. He advised people to check for excesses, co-payments or waiting periods for the day-to-day cover before signing up for a corporate plan.

Corporate plans are designed to be bought by companies and tend to have better benefits and be cheaper than individual plans. By law they have to be made available to anyone who asks for one.

With a corporate plan, there could be savings of up to €398 per adult.

Irish Independent

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