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Saturday 30 August 2014

VHI Price hike will hit thousands of customers

Thousands face VHI price hike of up to €300 a year

Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor

Published 26/03/2014 | 02:30

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Health insurance costs are now a major worry for many
Health insurance costs are now a major worry for many

Thousands of people are to be hit by a new rise in VHI premiums.

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The state-owned insurer is pushing up the premiums on 10 of its corporate plans, the Irish Independent has learned.

The price hike comes just a month after the VHI was praised by the Health Minister for keeping rises on family plans to 3pc. The new changes mean that prices are rising by up to 11pc, with a family of two adults and two children facing an increase of €300 a year.

The average rise will be 6.4pc. The higher prices will apply to those renewing on the 10 plans or those switching to these policies from April 15 next.

Corporate plans are available to anyone who asks for them, but are designed by insurers to be sold to companies that take out cover for their workers.

These plans tend to be better value and have more benefits than standard policies.

From next month a family of two adults and two children will face an annual bill of €3,245 for PMI 2612, up from €2,929. This is a rise of 11pc, or an increase of €318.

The latest increase comes after the VHI increased its popular Teachers and Nurses plans by 6pc at the start of the month, a move that has hiked the cost per adult by up to €290 annually.

Health insurance expert Dermot Goode of HealthInsuranceSavings.ie said those with health cover were seeing regular increases.

PREMIUMS

"There is almost a monthly price increase now," he said.

There are 2.05 million people who have health insurance, down 250,000 since 2007.

There have been eight separate announcements of premium rises by the four insurers this year alone. This month Aviva raised premiums by an average of 13pc, with some going up by 20pc. The rises will mean an extra €700 for a typical family.

It was the second Aviva hike this year. There have also been two rises from GloHealth across a range of plans, and increases of up to 40pc on Laya plans.

And the limiting of tax reliefs on health plans has meant family paying an extra €200 to €350 a year.

In a statement, the insurer said: "VHI Healthcare confirmed that it will increase the prices of some of its PMI (private medical insurance) plans by between 5pc and 11.2pc, or an average of 6.4pc, from April 15. These increases will impact on a small percentage of our overall customer base. These plans were not included in the price increase on the March 1."

It said the price increases were necessary to cover the costs of providing the customers on these plans with access to quality healthcare.

VHI added that the increases were driven by a number of factors including the increasing volume and cost of claims, an ageing membership and ongoing medical innovations which, while welcome, have an impact on the cost of care.

Irish Independent

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