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Irish Life announces third price rise this year for health insurance


Jim Dowdall of Irish Life Health

Jim Dowdall of Irish Life Health

Jim Dowdall of Irish Life Health

Health insurer Irish Life has announced a third price rise.

The latest increase of 4.4pc is set to take effect from the start of January and will mean the cost of cover for a family of two adults and two children renewing will rise by between €90 and €300 a year.

The insurer already raised premium levels in June and earlier this month. Cumulatively, the three increases will mean a family renewing from early next year will end up paying between €180 and €600 more for their health insurance with Irish Life, according to Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie.

Price rises for Irish Life policies came into effect in June and this month, which means the latest rise is the third over a 12-month period.

Irish Life boss Jim Dowdall blamed what he called a continuing trend of increasing healthcare costs for the premium rise.

"Through 2019, we have continued to see significant increases in the volume and cost of medical claims, with increased charges from private hospitals being a notable contributor to this.

"Furthermore, each year Ireland's ageing population and improved life expectancy increases the demands and overall cost of healthcare, with underlying healthcare costs increasing at four times the pace of inflation," Mr Dowdall said.

Irish Life said its popular Benefit Plan would increase in price by €153 annually for a family of four, taking the total cost to €2,310.

This month saw the cost of both Laya and Irish Life plans rise for the second time this year.

Laya put up the price on 63 schemes by 1.7pc this month. 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.

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The VHI rises will see the cost of some premiums rise by more than €300 a year.

Mr Goode warned consumers to expect further increases across the market next year.

He said consumers need to be wary of average price rise figures, as many plans could increase by double the figures quoted by insurers.

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