Families facing €200 rise in price of health cover
Published 01/12/2015 | 02:30
Another health insurer is to push up the cost of its policies ahead of one of the busiest periods for renewals.
Aviva is to increase prices by 5.1pc on a range of plans with effect from the start of January.
It is understood that 72 Aviva plans will be more expensive from the start of next year. The hikes mean families will be paying up to €200 more for cover.
However, the insurer is also reducing prices on some of its more popular plans.
Aviva's First Focus plan will rise by almost 7pc for adults, and by 8pc for children - an extra €175 for a family of two adults and two children to renew from January 1.
Health Excess 150 will go up by 1.3pc, making it €37.50 more expensive for a family.
Laya and GloHealth have also recently increased premiums.
VHI imposed average rises of 2pc, with some up by 5pc, from the start of this month.
The Aviva price adjustments come just months after similar hikes. At the start the year, the insurer announced a rise of 3.5pc. And in the summer, it announced rises of 5.1pc, effective from the start of last July. The news comes amid reports Aviva's health insurance division is for sale.
Chief executive of Aviva Health James Parker blamed a higher level of claims for the rises.
"We have tried to keep this increase as low as possible. It is necessary to allow us to meet the increase in our claims," Mr Parker said.
The company said there was no rise across 20 plans, while it is moving to withdraw some 47 plans over a period of a year.
It is also reducing the cost of some plans. Aviva Select Plus will be 10pc cheaper for a family from January, a saving of €228.
Aviva is also making its new Babylon Health benefit, where customers can consult with a GP over a smartphone, available on seven new plans.
Independent broker Dermot Goode said the price rises come at one of the busiest periods for renewals, and would mean rises of between €150 and €200 on a number of plans.
Mr Goode, of TotalHealthCover.ie, said 400,000 people are due to renew their policies between now and January.
"When you see price increases on some plans and not on others, it means that nobody should take an increase lying down because you will be able to switch to another plan that is not going up."
Mr Goode said the health insurance market is now characterised by frequent price movements, benefit changes and new product launches.
He said consumers need to realise that most plans only have a life-span of 12 months.