Families to pay €200 a year extra for health insurance
FAMILIES are facing the prospect of shelling out an additional €200 a year for private health insurance.
Yesterday, Quinn Healthcare said it would impose average hikes of 8pc from the start of January, but some of its most popular health-care plans are going up by 15pc.
Its popular Essential Plus Excess plan will rise by €230 a year to €2,150 from the start of January, for a family of two adults and two children.
And the move by Quinn will be followed by across-the-board increases by the VHI and Aviva, health insurance experts said.
Families can expect hikes of up to 10pc to be imposed in the new year for their private health insurance premiums, according to Dermot Goode of healthinsurancesavings.ie.
And if the December Budget sees the Government impose large rises in the cost of a private and semi-private beds in public hospitals, then families face increases as high as 20pc, Mr Goode said.
It also emerged yesterday that Aviva has already imposed a 10pc rise for its popular Level 2 Everyday plan, with the new price taking effect from Christmas Eve.
The hike for this plan will mean a family with two adults and two children will face an additional premium of €240, with the total cost rising to €2,642, Mr Goode explained.
Aviva said this was the only plan that had gone up in price. The company would not comment on whether prices of other plans might be increased.
Last night, Quinn blamed the Government for its decision to pump up its premium costs.
It said the decision to impose a levy on health insurance policies in 2009 and the move to push this up by 15pc this year had left it with no choice but to pass on this added cost to its customers.
"The Government is currently charging €185 per adult and €55 per child for the health insurance levy -- whether you are on a higher-priced plan or a low-cost starter plan.
"We believe the levy is completely disproportionate, as less well-off customers compensate those better-off customers with luxury health insurance products."
A spokeswoman for Vhi Healthcare said it had not made any decision on future pricing.
"Any decision on pricing depends on a number of factors, including the continuing growth in our customers' health-care needs, the regulatory environment and the need to ensure that our income meets our health-care expenditure."
Mr Goode advised those with private health care to review their cover now and consider locking into the current rates.
Consumers can sign up for a different plan now and lock in at that rate for a year.
"People often think that they have to remain as is, until their next renewal date, which is not the case.
"Strictly speaking, it is an annual contract but you can actually cancel your policy on a particular date and set up a new policy from the same date with a new renewal," he said.