Corporate health plan can save €400 a year
THE average family can save up to €400 on their private healthcare by making one phone call, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Families can cut the cost of their health cover and increase the level of benefits by opting for a "corporate plan".
These plans are available to everyone but healthcare providers do not advertise the fact that they are better value for individuals.
These plans are only marketed to companies when health insurers are trying to sign up all the firm's staff, but by law they must be available to everyone.
Head of the State's regulatory body for health insurance, Liam Sloyan of the Health Insurance Authority (HIA), said everyone was entitled to switch to a corporate plan.
"These plans tend to have similar benefits to individual plans but at a significantly lower cost," he said.
Health insurance experts explained yesterday that many people mistakenly believed they had a corporate plan as they paid for their insurance through their job, but in fact all they were getting was a 10pc "group discount".
This discount tends to be offered to most people, Dermot Goode of HealthInsuranceSavings.ie said.
"Each of the three insurers also have a range of corporate plans which tend to offer better overall benefits at a lower price. While these plans are not widely advertised, they can be accessed by anyone either joining health insurance or wishing to transfer from their existing plan," Mr Goode said.
These plans can save consumers from 10pc to 30pc and even higher. and could work out at up to €400 for a typical family. A family with two adults on VHI's Plan B Parents & Kids will be paying €907 per adult for this cover, but the VHI's Company Level 1.1 offers roughly the same benefits at a cost of €665 per adult at the moment.
Aviva's company plans are called BizPlan, while Quinn has Company Care.
Mr Goode pointed out that corporate plans could be more expensive for children, but most insurers would allow a family to leave the children on the existing plan while moving the adults to the corporate plan.
There is also usually an excess with corporate plans. Typically, the first €75 of a claim will have to be borne by the consumer.
References to corporate plans are not easy to find on the websites of health insurers, Mr Sloyan of the HIA said.
Consumers have been advised to be clear as to what corporate plan they want to join, or transfer to, and its name before approaching their insurer to switch to that plan.
There are more than 200 different health policies in the market.