Tuesday 17 October 2017

Latest health cover cost hike hits one million VHI members

The latest rise will mean it costs an extra €85 a year for a family of two adults and two children on One Plan Family (Stock picture)
The latest rise will mean it costs an extra €85 a year for a family of two adults and two children on One Plan Family (Stock picture)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

People with health insurance are facing a new price rise after VHI said it was increasing the cost of its premiums from the start of May.

The average premium will rise by 2pc for its one million customers, the State-owned insurer said.

This will add between €50 and €100 extra to the cost of plans for families.

The insurer last increased premium rates by 3pc in November, which means some people renewing from May will be hit with cumulative rises of up to 10pc in the cost of cover.

VHI said the increase was necessary in order to cover the costs of new technologies, new drugs and new procedures as well as rising claims costs in public hospitals.

The higher cost in public hospitals is understood to refer to the double-charging of patients by the HSE. This is where insured people using public hospitals have their treatment costs charged at a full private insurance rate to their insurer even though they only get public hospital treatment.

Health Minister Simon Harris has promised to review the practice.

Some 51 of VHI's plans are going up in price, with the highest price rise at 3.5pc.

The latest rise will mean it costs an extra €85 a year for a family of two adults and two children on One Plan Family.

"We have worked hard to keep the price increase as low as possible but need to ensure that our plans continue to deliver new and innovative benefits to our customers," director of marketing and business development at VHI Declan Moran said.

The cost of the Start Plan, One Plan Starter and One Plan 250 are also going up.

Dermot Goode, of TotalHealthCover.ie, warned consumers to expect rises across all insurers every two to three months.

"This is not a surprise. Creeping price rises are now something we are going to see every two to three months," he said.

Premiums

VHI's price rise comes weeks after its rival Laya said it was to raise prices for the fourth time in less than two years.

From April, Laya premiums on plans will rise by an average of almost 6pc. The rises will impact on 124 plans.

Laya is the second largest health insurer in the country. It has around 500,000 customers.

It is the fourth time the cost of Laya health cover will have risen in 16 months.

Health insurance experts estimate the move will cost an average family an extra €150 a year.

Irish Independent

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