Saturday 10 December 2016

Less spent on health insurance as consumers downgrade cover to cut cost

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Published 28/07/2016 | 10:43

New figures show that the cost of the average premium fell slightly to €1,170 last year Photo: Getty
New figures show that the cost of the average premium fell slightly to €1,170 last year Photo: Getty

Consumers are spending less on health insurance.

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New figures show that the cost of the average premium fell slightly to €1,170 last year.

This was down from €1,200 as consumers downgraded their cover to cut costs.

The lower average spend on health cover was also due to thousands of new customers coming into the market in May 2015 to avoid the introduction of penalties for those waiting until they are over 35 to take up cover.

The average spending figures on health insurance are before tax relief of 20pc, which is automatically applied for those who paid for their cover. The tax relief has to be claimed back in situations where employers pay for cover.

The new figures from the regulator, the Health Insurance Authority, show that 2.12 million people now have health insurance, up 97,000 last year compared with 2014.

This represents 46pc of the population. It is still off the 2008 peak of 51pc of the population having health insurance.

VHI has a market share of 51pc, the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) said in its annual report.

Chief executive of the HIA Don Gallagher said there are 360 different health policies on offer from the four insurers.

“Consumers should really be checking their current cover and pricing at least every two to three years to make sure they are receiving value from the market,” he added.

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