Watchdog finds €100 rise in private health premiums
The average private health insurance premium rose to €1,150 last year - an increase of nearly €100 compared with 2012.
At the same time insurers paid out less in claims for their members, reversing the upward trend of the previous decade.
The number of treatment days used by insured patients in hospital fell by around 3pc overall, according to the annual report of the industry watchdog, the Health Insurance Authority (HIA).
"The fall in claims paid per insured person in 2013 is a favourable development for the sustainability of the health insurance market," said the report.
It will come under more pressure as the population ages and gets sicker while also facing demands for more advanced medical and surgical interventions.
The watchdog, which receives unpublished commercially sensitive data from the insurers, said by December last Vhi's market share was 54pc, down from 95pc in the 1990s. Laya Healthcare had 23pc market share, Aviva 15pc and GloHealth 4pc.
It said the fall in demand for health insurance had been seen disproportionately among younger adults. Between 2009 and the end of 2013 the numbers aged between 18 and 50 dropped by 200,000. One in five of this age group left.
At the same time the number of adults over 50 rose by 36,000. It means the rate at which the market is ageing is speeding up.
"Market shares vary significantly by ages of the insured. Vhi continued to insure 70pc of those aged over the age of 70 but its share of adults between the ages of 18 and 40 is 52pc.