Friday 23 March 2018

Number of people getting health insurance soared by 30,000 in one year

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

THERE has been another rise in the number of people with health insurance, a development that is positive for those who take out cover.

New figures show that 2.15 million people now have health insurance.

This is up 30,000 from a year ago, according to figures from the Health Insurance Authority, the regulator for the sector.

Another 102,000 people have cash plans, which pay them money if they have to go to hospital or to a GP but do not cover the cost of the medical procedures.

The average premium for an inpatient health policy is now €1,177. This is up by €4 from the average premium paid in 2015.

However, it is down slightly from the cost of the average premium paid in 2014.

Some 46pc of the population now has health insurance.

The market is still below its peak level, which it reached in 2008 when 2.3 million people had private medical insurance.

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

The growing numbers taking out health cover is despite constant rises in the cost of cover.

Read More: Private patients to be banned from queue-jumping in public hospitals

State-owned health insurer VHI has reported last week that it made bumper profits, just weeks after imposing a new price rise on its one million members.

The increase in premiums at the start of this month was the second in the past six months.

The company said it had made a net surplus of €56.4m last year.

Next month Irish Life Health is to raise its prices by an average of 3.2pc. But some plans will go up by double this amount.

The costs for a family of two adults and two children could increase by between €100 and €250, depending on the Irish Life Health plan held.

Both Laya and VHI have already increased their rates twice in the last six months.

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