Wednesday 23 October 2019

Families face higher costs as health insurer imposes second rise within a year

‘Cost of claims is rising’: Says Laya managing director Dónal Clancy. Picture: Tom Burke
‘Cost of claims is rising’: Says Laya managing director Dónal Clancy. Picture: Tom Burke
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Health insurer Laya has announced its second price rise this year.

Laya is to put up the price of 63 schemes - about half of the plans it offers - by 1.7pc from November 1.

The company says this will result in an average annual increase of €25 per scheme. But some plans are going up by more.

Popular plans Essential Health 300, Flex 125 Explore and Total Health Select will go up in price by between €85 and €215 for a family of four.

Laya blamed what it said was a huge rise in claims for treatment in private hospitals by members.

Between 2015 and last year the company saw an increase in the volume of claims of 34pc. The cost of settling these claims rose by a quarter.

It said advances in medical treatments and technology are driving significant increases in the cost of claims from private and hi-tech hospitals.

Laya managing director Dónal Clancy said: "Across the board, the cost of claims is increasing.

"We are monitoring this trend and doing all we can for our members to give them the best value health insurance on the market.

"However, it's becoming more and more challenging to protect our members from premium increases in the face of mounting claims costs."

Laya raised the price on 82 of its plans in July, with average increases of 2.9pc. This resulted in an average of €40 in extra payments a year per adult.

Rivals Vhi and Irish Life Health have increased their prices by an average of between 3pc and 6pc this year.

In August, Vhi said it was raising prices by an average of 6pc, blaming costs in hospitals, increases in consultants' fees and demand for more medical treatments by members.

Vhi's popular One-Plus plan increased by €85 a year to €1,204 per adult.

The cost of the HealthPlus Premium product will rise by €320 a year per adult to €3,495 a year from August.

Irish Life raised prices by an average of 3.3pc from June, a move that will cost a family €110 more a year on the Select scheme, and €122 on the 4D Health 2 scheme.

Health insurance expert Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie said all the health insurers have commented on a significant increase in claims through 2019, especially coming through from private hospitals.

Mr Goode also warned that there could be further price rises to come from the health insurers.

The move by Vhi in June to announce its first rise in years marked the end of the health insurance price war.

Up to then health insurers had been cutting prices for their coverage.

Irish Independent

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