Health

Thursday 31 July 2014

Health insurance 'turf war' as prices slashed for families

Charlie Weston

Published 20/06/2014|02:30

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Families may benefit from a health insurance price war
Families may benefit from a health insurance price war

FAMILIES can benefit from half price child and student rates amid a new price war aimed at stopping parents switching provider or giving up their cover.

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All four insurers now have half-price deals or discounts for children, while Aviva also has a number of new plans.

Health insurance expert Dermot Goode said the new offers were like a 'turf war' and that those due to renew could make huge savings.

"There is a land grab going on, particularly as a lot of big companies renew corporate policies at this time of the year. The insurers are definitely stepping up a gear," Mr Goode said.

He said it was unprecedented for the largest player, VHI, to offer half price for children on 61 family plans, as well as a range of corporate plans.

The half price offer for children runs from the start of next month until the end of October.

The same offer on the PMI range of corporate plans is from August until the end of October.

Now Aviva has responded by offering a child discount price of €199 a year from July on its Family Focus plans, said Mr Goode, of Healthinsurancesavings.ie.

Aviva is also launching four new Focus plans next month, with prices starting at €655 per adult a year. But Mr Goode said there is an excess of between €300 and €500 for in-patient stays in selected private hospitals on these plans. An excess is the amount of a claim you have to pay before the insurer picks up the rest.

And Aviva is launching three new corporate schemes, called Be Fit plans. Corporate plans are marketed at companies that pay for their staff's health cover, but can be bought by families. They tend to be cheaper and have better benefits than family plans.

Aviva is also set to drop the child price to €200 a year on its Health Plan 16 plan from the start of August. The child price on the Hospital Focus plan drops from €423 to €150.

Laya is offering half price child and student rates on its Essential Connect Family plans from August.

This plan has a €300 once-off excess for the first private hospital admission.

GloHealth offers free cover for children under the age of three on its Better Saver plan or higher.

Mr Goode said this represents a saving of €210 per child.

The newest player in the market is also offering half price cover for children aged three who are joining or renewing on the Better Saver plan or higher.

Glo last month launched a new range of Network plans that cover selected public and private hospitals. The cost of these starts at €620 per adult.

Mr Goode advised families to consider corporate plans, which often represent better value.

He said families should split their cover, by putting the adults and the children on different plans with the same insurer.

Irish Independent

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