Monday 26 September 2016

Families warned about 'creeping' rises in health insurance

Published 06/08/2016 | 02:30

There have already been a number of increases in the premiums for health cover this year. Photo: Getty
There have already been a number of increases in the premiums for health cover this year. Photo: Getty

People with health insurance have been warned about "creeping price increases" for medical cover.

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It came after it emerged that VHI, Laya and GloHealth are again increasing the cost of a small number of plans.

There have already been a number of increases in the premiums for health cover this year.

Most of the plans going up in price are corporate schemes.

These are put in place to be marketed to businesses that pay for cover for employees. They tend to be better value and have more benefits than conventional plans, but by law must be made available to anyone who asks for one.

The second largest player in the market, Laya, is pushing up the cost of 11 plans. Most of these are corporate plans.

Laya has already had two price rises this year.

Independent health ­insurance broker Dermot Goode said cost of the Simply Connect plan will rise by €91 a year for a family of two adults and two children, to €2,723.

Mr Goode said this was an "excellent value" corporate plan.

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

The health provider has introduced a half-price offer for children on Essential Connect Health from September.

Laya said the overall price review was a result of the significant increase in the cost and volume of claims received by Laya from both private and public hospitals.

VHI is increasing the cost of four plans. They include corporate plans PMI 15 11, PMI 38 14, PMI 19 11 and PMI 18 11.

The cost of PMI 18 11 will rise by €66 per adult to €1,208 on August 22.

VHI said there was no price increase on these plans in the last 12 months. There are also some new benefits on the plans, it added.

GloHealth, which has been renamed Irish Life Health, is increasing the cost of its Best Ultimate Active and Best Plan Ultimate Cash II plans.

The corporate plans are going up by up to €90 per adult, with the rises taking effect from the end of the month.

Asked about the price rises, GloHealth said it had improved the benefits on both plans.

Mr Goode said that insurers were avoiding bad publicity by announcing changes to different plans at various points in the year rather than having one big announcement.

He said of the price rises from VHI, Laya and Glo: "These are further examples of the 'creeping' approach to price increases across all health insurers."

Mr Goode, of TotalHealthCover.ie, said that as well as block increases twice a year, insurers were changing the prices of corporate plans and individual plans almost monthly and adjusting benefits.

"Consumers need to keep an eye on these developments to make sure they do not miss any deals," he said.

Irish Independent

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