Fresh health insurance pain as Laya hikes prices for 2017
A new round of health insurance price rises is set to take effect from the start of next year.
Experts said all the players in the industry will react to Laya pushing up the cost of 49 of its plans from January.
Families will end up having to pay between €150 and €250 extra a year when they renew their cover.
The move will affect half of the 500,000 members of the insurance company.
Premium rates are going up by an average of 5pc. However, the costs of seven Laya plans are going down.
Other insurers are likely to impose higher premium costs next year on the back of the announcement, experts said. Laya blamed the increased price of cover on higher costs being imposed on insurers by the Government for members using public hospitals.
It also said consultant charges had risen by 9pc in public hospitals and by 12pc in private hospitals.
Laya announced two price rises earlier this year that have already had the effect of making plans around 10pc dearer when customers renew on them.
Health insurance broker Dermot Goode, of TotalHealthCover.ie, said the move by Laya was the start of a new round of rises.
Mr Goode said: "These Laya increases will cost families between €150 and €250 extra on top of other increases in March and July." He added that he was expecting similar rises from Laya's rivals Vhi and Irish Life Health. "This is the first salvo and comes after the levy on policies was increased," he said.
Last week, health insurer Irish Life, which recently took over GloHealth and Aviva Health, said it was pushing up Glo prices by an average of 6pc from the start of next month. Vhi had already announced an increase in the cost of cover.
In the past few days, the Department of Health said the levy on health insurance policies will rise by 10pc from April, which insurers said would raise premium prices.
Laya managing director Dónal Clancy said the firm had tried to minimise rises.