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Saturday 10 December 2016

One week to switch your health insurance before hike

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Published 23/02/2012 | 05:00

FAMILIES have just days to switch their health insurance plan or change their provider before a raft of price hikes kick in next Thursday, March 1.

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Those who move now can avoid price hikes and ensure their children are covered for free.

VHI Healthcare is to begin imposing price increases of between 6pc and 12.5pc on a range of its plans from next Thursday. And Quinn Healthcare is pushing through price rises on its consumer and corporate plans of 6.5pc in the first few days of March.

Aviva hiked its consumer plans by 15pc last week, with similar rises on its corporate plans from early next month.

Families that want to save money have just a week to grab deals that could save them up to €1,800 a year.

All three insurers are offering free cover for children on selected plans, but these deals are set to be withdrawn in weeks.

Dermot Goode of Healthinsurancesavings.ie said: "Consumers need to move quickly as all three insurers are set to increase their rates again from next Thursday, and withdraw free children and special corporate deals within a few weeks."

Corporate plans are designed to attract companies but have to be made available to any individual who asks for them.

They tend to be cheaper and often have better benefits.

The VHI is currently offering two corporate plans at knock-down prices, but these are set to jump in price on March 1.

The PMI 6 plan is currently €844 per adult, but due to rise to €950 from that date. The PMI 26 plan is €861 per adult at the moment, but due to jump to €965 from next Thursday.

Mr Goode said that a family of two adults and two children insured with Quinn could save up €1,840 by acting now.

They could do this by switching from Essential Plus (with no excess) to Healthwise Plus No Excess for the adults, and by getting free cover for the children by putting them on Essential Select.

Children

VHI customers on Health Plus Extra (the old B Options) can save €1,871 by opting instead for One Plus plan for the entire family. Children are covered for free on this plan until March 16.

However, the catch with the VHI is that only those who are due to renew up to the day before St Patrick's Day will qualify for this deal.

The other two insurers allow consumers to change their renewal dates, Mr Goode said.

People who cancelled their cover in December, in shock at the latest series of price rises, could now reinstate their cover without penalty and at a lower cost. Because they will be renewing within a 13-week period these people will not have to serve a waiting period before they are covered.

Irish Independent

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