Thursday 29 September 2016

Over-60s pay more for health insurance

Published 29/07/2016 | 02:30

The average person over the age of 60 is paying a premium that is 31pc more expensive than their younger counterparts. Photo: Getty
The average person over the age of 60 is paying a premium that is 31pc more expensive than their younger counterparts. Photo: Getty

Older people are paying far more for health insurance than young people, it has emerged.

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The average person over the age of 60 is paying a premium that is 31pc more expensive than their younger counterparts.

Health insurers are not allowed to charge older people more than younger people for the same level of cover, under rules known as community rating.

But a review of the health insurance market by the regulator, the Health Insurance Authority, has shown that older people tend to opt for higher-cost plans that give higher levels of cover.

The VHI, which has the lion's share of older health insurance customers, has denied it is ripping them off by not offering them better value.

Despite the higher premium rates being paid by the over-60s, there was a fall in the average premium being paid last year by all those with health insurance.

Large numbers of the over-60s are still on the VHI's Health Plus Access, which used to be called Plan B. This costs close to €2,000 a year, according to health insurance broker Dermot Goode. He said many older people were paying €2,384 on Health Plus Extra, which used to be called Plan B Options.

Many of these people have never moved from these plans since they were renamed and went up in price by double digit amounts.

Mr Goode said older people could opt for the VHI's Health Access, which costs €1,563, but there is an excess payment of €125 for a private hospital admission.

Irish Independent

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