'Income is down, while everything else is going up'
HEALTH insurance price hikes are a big worry for Justin O'Gorman and his family.
The decision of Aviva to raise the cost of its plans by 15pc from next month, on top of a similar rise last year, is set to cost them dearly.
The move will mean the monthly cost of insuring the health of Mr O'Gorman, his wife Mary and daughters Billie (16) and Holly (8) will jump by €33 to €255.
Over a year this works out at a rise of close to €400 to take the annual premium to more than €3,000.
"My wife Mary will say we can't do without health insurance. We will have to look at reducing the cost," said Mr O'Gorman, who runs advisory firm Financial Planning & Solutions in Dublin.
"When it comes to my income I am seeing a reduction, but everything else is going up," he said.
His family's financial leeway is set to lessen due to the new €100 household charge, higher value added tax, and savage rises in healthcare insurance premiums.
He escaped last March's 14pc rise in Aviva's health insurance prices by renewing early, but there is no escape this year.
"We will have to take a serious look at the figures for health insurance. Along with the mortgage, it is one of the major costs in our household," he added.
"Now that we have started the new year we are sitting down and seeing where we can possibly shave off more money. There is very little room for a lot of us to cut stuff out."
His creative wife Mary has launched a business called CORus, teaching people of all ages how to sing and have fun as part of a choir.
On the positive side, they count themselves lucky to have a tracker mortgage and are benefiting from lower interest rates.
"Despite that, 2012 will be another difficult year. It will be a case of battening down the hatches," Mr O'Gorman concluded.
Irish Independent Supplement