VHI customers are facing another 3pc in cost of premiums
Published 16/09/2016 | 02:30
VHI customers are facing an average 3pc hike in insurance premiums from the beginning of November.
The country's biggest health insurer, which has around one million customers, is blaming the rise on increasing claims, particularly in public hospitals.
Declan Moran, the insurer's director of marketing and business development, said it was "very aware" of the financial pressures faced by customers and it sought to keep the price as low as possible without compromising cover.
Vhi said the cost of its “one Plan Family “ scheme for two adults and two children, will rise to €2682.28 a year from November - a monthly increase of €10.11
It's lower-cost 'Start Plan' for adults will go up to €467.71, an increase of €1.31 a month.
It will mean a €3.41 a month hike in its 'One-Plan 250' plan, which will cost an annual €889.21.
Mr Moran said the company would offer half-price rates for children under its 'One-Plan Family' plan. This will apply to customers who renew their cover or who took out private health insurance between November 1 and December 30, 2016.
It is the health insurer's second rise this year. In March it announced another average increase of 3pc that took effect from May 1.
Last month, in a submission to the Oireachtas committee drawing up a plan for the future of healthcare, VHI said the current health insurance model was 'unsustainable' due to the ageing population.
It predicted that the cost of claims in the overall market will rise by about 80 pc by 2025, a rise of €3.4 bn.
Meanwhile, car insurance bosses have rejected suggestions that they withheld motoring data so they could freeze out competitors and drive up premiums.
Representatives from Insurance Ireland, a group that makes up 95pc of the domestic insurance market, were accused of using "cartel-like behaviour" at a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform hearing on the rising cost of motor insurance.
They were criticised for undermining those who refused to pay annual fees to access the group's insurance databases.
"We publish everything we are asked to publish," said chief executive Kevin Thompson.
In its own submission to the hearings, the Irish Brokers' Association admitted the market was operating "blind" due to a lack of data.
In 2015, motor insurance claims were €1.2bn, a rise of 24pc over 2014. However, the committee noted this did not correlate with the "60pc to 70pc rise in premiums seen since 2013", and that Insurance Ireland had presented nothing to "properly explain this".
Mr Thompson insisted rates increased after a period of "under-pricing" and because of "fall-off in the performance of investment returns."