THE first health insurance price hike of the year will cost families an extra €100.
New player GloHealth is set to push up premiums by up to 8pc at the end of this month, the Irish Independent has learned.
Experts said this was the first of a series of rises – and is a direct result of moves by the Government to charge anyone with insurance for treatment in a public hospital, whether they get a private bed or not.
The financial impact of these changes on families was outlined by the Irish Independent earlier this week, with price hikes of up to 50pc anticipated this year.
GloHealth only entered the market last summer with the aim of targeting families with young children with policies that are up to €600 cheaper than those offered by rivals.
But its insurance plans are to go up by an average 6pc from January 30.
This will cost a family of two adults and two children an extra €118 for the mid-level Better plan. The full annual cost for this plan will shoot up to €2,098.
Cover is free for children under three from Glo.
There will be an extra €202 cost for the mid-level Better plan from February, if the family opts to have cash paid back when in hospital.
The company insisted its plans would still be cheaper than its rivals, despite the hikes.
In a statement, GloHealth said: "The price increases arise from decisions made by the Government in relation to the cost of healthcare. In the recent Budget, the Government indicated that in 2013 it will generate an additional €65m of private income in public hospitals.
"There will be higher charges for the use of public beds and other measures taken during 2013, the cost of which GloHealth has no option but to pass on to consumers."
Health insurance expert Dermot Goode, of HealthInsuranceSavings.ie, said there would be more rises from the four medical insurance players.
He said moves by Health Minister James Reilly to change the law to charge insurance companies for anyone with health cover who uses a public hospital would send premiums soaring.
VHI Healthcare has already warned that it could be forced to push up premiums by up to 45pc under the new rules.
And insurers are reeling over other plans to introduce new higher levies on health policies to compensate the VHI for having the majority of older, more expensive, customers.
Health insurance costs have doubled since 2009, a move that has forced around 200,000 people to ditch their policies since the downturn in 2008.
In the first nine months of last year alone around 65,000 stopped paying for private health insurance.