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Irish Life increases cost of health premiums for the second time this year

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Charlie Weston

INSURER Irish Life Health is to increase the cost of its cover for the second time this year.

The company said the cost of the average premium will go up by 5pc from the start of July.

The move will impact those renewing or joining the health insurer from that date.

It comes after it hiked prices from the start of January.

This latest increase will cost a typical family of two adults and two children around €160 extra on the popular 4D Health 1 plan.

For those on the 4D Health 3, the same family will be facing an additional €220 in premiums from this latest increase, according to calculations by Dermot Goode of

Those renewing on or after July 1 will also be hit by the January increase, so their actual year-on-year increase could be double these figures, Mr Goode said.

Vhi Healthcare and Laya have also increased their rates in 2023. VHI increased by average 4.8pc in March and Laya by average 4.4pc on April 1.

Mr Goode said he assumes that Vhi and Laya will move on their rates again later in the year as they are both affected by the same cost drivers as Irish Life Health.

“After a period of relative price stability for health insurance, we’re returning to the days of potentially double-digit price hikes which will be unaffordable to many,” Mr Goode said.

“Our advice to all consumers is to never auto-renew. In other words, don’t accept these price hikes without completing a full review of your options.”

He said there are over 330 plans to choose from and those who shop around properly can usually manage to keep their costs affordable whilst still maintaining quality cover.

Mr Goode said raging price rises across a range of goods and services that households buy could mean some consumers may reconsider the need for private health cover.

“It could also force those who are using their cover to take on more risk in the form of higher policy excesses or reduced overall cover in an effort to keep the cost affordable.”

Irish Life Health said it was increasing its prices as a result of what it said was a very significant increase in the volume and size of claims.

This is being driven by a substantial increase in demand for healthcare services, particularly in private and hi-tech hospitals.

“Post-pandemic, there has been a considerable ramp-up in activity across all public and private health services, with private and hi-tech hospitals returning to full service and many much-needed procedures that had been deferred during the pandemic now taking place,” Irish Life said.

The level of claims in 2022 from private and hi-tech hospitals is the highest seen since the inception of Irish Life Health in 2016, it said.

Irish Life Health managing director Ger Davis said: “We are acutely aware of the impact increasing premiums will have on our customers.

“We recognise that these changes will be difficult for customers who have recently experienced significant price increases across many areas.”