Sunday 28 May 2017

Families facing €340 health bill hike as Quinn costs rise again

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

FAMILIES will have to shell out an additional €340 a year for healthcare after Quinn said it was hiking its premiums from the start of next year.

Quinn Healthcare will push up its premiums by an average of 12pc from January 1 next. Anyone who renews or switches to the company after that date will face higher premiums.

It is the third recent hike imposed by the company which has about 500,000 customers.

The three increases take the cumulate rises since this time last year to around 25pc, according to Dublin-based broker Patrick Brennan of Irish Health Insurance.

VHI has had two price rises this year, with the latest one just last week.

It imposed a hike of 2pc that will impact on most plans offered by the state-owned insurer, coming just months after rises of between 15pc and 45pc were imposed.

The two rises mean typical families will see VHI premiums rise by €380 this year.

Aviva is now also likely to raise its premiums, but most health insurance experts expect it to wait until February or March.

Mr Brennan said a family on Quinn's Essential Plus, with two adults and two children, would end up paying an additional €340 when they renew their policy. The premium for the family will now go from €2,857 a year to €3,200, he said.

Quinn blamed the rises on "continued pressure" on its business, including increases in the health insurance levy imposed by the Government on all private health insurance policies.

It said the levy cost its business more than €100m from 2009 to the end of this year.

The company also said higher costs linked to medical advances, drugs and private beds in public hospitals had also contributed to the decision to hike prices.

Insurance

It is the third time the cost of Quinn individual and family plans has gone up in the past 13 months.

The price of plans soared by up to 24pc in January this year, with an average rise of 8pc.

And in April there were rises of an average of 6pc, but with some plans rising in cost by 15pc.

The firm is separate to the general insurance firm of Quinn which has been taken over by Liberty Mutual. Quinn Healthcare was for sale separately, but has so far failed to find a buyer.

Some 800,0000 of the almost two million people who have private health insurance are expected to renew their policies in the next four months.

Mr Brennan said that with 187 plans in the market from the three providers it was becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to work out what they were covered for and where to find the best value.

Irish Independent

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