Thursday 23 May 2019

VHI clawed back €25m from hospitals last year

Since 2009 VHI's Special Investigation Unit into inappropriate billing has recouped €151.6m. (Stock photo)
Since 2009 VHI's Special Investigation Unit into inappropriate billing has recouped €151.6m. (Stock photo)
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Health insurer VHI said it clawed back almost €25m last year - including for what it called inappropriate billing by hospitals to private patients.

Since 2009 VHI's Special Investigation Unit into such billing has recouped €151.6m, the insurer said yesterday.

Private health insurers and health providers, including public hospitals, are locked in a long-running dispute over billing of private patients, including for over-night care in public beds.

The country's biggest health insurer yesterday reported a net surplus of €82.4m in 2018, up from €75.3m in 2017.

Private medical customer number grew 10pc to 1.1 million. However, the group reported a slight drop in income from insurance premiums, down to €1.41bn from €1.48bn in 2017.

Income from insurance products and services other than private health insurance amounted to €31.2m during the year, up from €27.8m in 2017.

VHI had free reserves of €676m, representing a rise of €65m, or 10.6pc, compared with the previous year's position. Gross claims paid were €1.3bn, down 0.1pc from 2017.

John O'Dwyer, chief executive of VHI, said the insurance model is under pressure.

"We need to improve the Risk Equalisation System so that health insurers are rewarded for delivering efficiencies and providing better health outcomes rather than just selecting better risks. Now is the time to take those steps," he said.

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