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Friday 23 March 2018

DIY health cover a shot in arm for consumers

The move to ‘pick and mix’ health cover is not without its risks
The move to ‘pick and mix’ health cover is not without its risks
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

A HEALTH insurance company is to allow consumers build their own health policy, a concept that could usefully be applied to home and motor insurance.

GloHealth will allow families strip down a plan to its very basics, and then only add in other elements if they want them, by paying for add-ons.

The core cover is cheap with GloHealth's new Net range of policies. The basic plan will cover public hospitals, with some of the other new plans covering private hospitals.

If you decided you want a private room, then you can choose that as an option and pay more.

Consumers can opt to exclude the likes of cardiac cover in hi-tech hospitals like the Beacon in Dublin.

There are various levels of excess – depending on how expensive the policy is. An excess is the amount you pay first before the insurer will pick up the tab.

The introduction of "DIY policies" is about making health cover more affordable, given that we have had a succession of hikes from VHI, Laya, Aviva and Glo already this year.

Rate rises of 20 per cent are not unusual.

GloHealth has been forced to bring in a development like this because of the crisis caused by spiralling premiums.

Other health insurers are now expected to follow with new plans that will allow consumers to customise their cover.

However, the move to "pick and mix" health cover is not without its risks.

Putting self-designed cover in place leaves people open to the risk they will get caught out and end up having to go to a hospital or having a procedure done that they do not have cover for on their policy.

This means anyone opting for such a policy needs to check out what exactly is covered and what is not.

But the huge positive is that it will make health cover more affordable.

Motor and home insurers should offer a-la-carte cover. Of course, the insurers would hate this as their profits would be lowered.

At the moment, you can customise your cover to a limited degree.

Motor polices often come with cover for the likes of towing a caravan and/or cover for overseas driving.

Stripping these out can reduce the premium.

Motor insurers could offer a basic and good-value third-party insurance rate with a price list of options for people to buy to build into a policy that suits them.

Now that would give power to the consumer, and reduce premiums.

Twitter: @Cweston_Indo

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