Monday 17 June 2019

Only cheaper policies with same benefits makes insurance switch attractive - study

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Markus Krug

While only 17pc of people in Ireland are likely to switch their private health insurance, getting the same benefits in a cheaper policy is the main reason for those who do change it up.

This was revealed in a study published by the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) which is based on 1032 interviews from all around Ireland.

Besides a cheaper price, the report quotes significantly better benefits in a new policy as another motivation to switch, even if it costs more.

Within the group considering a switch, it is especially the generation between 50 and 64 years that is considering a different plan – often with the same provider.

The top reasons to stay with their current policy are mostly positive factors. People feel that they have a clear understanding of their current policy and feel like they are getting value for money.

Only 14pc of those polled "cite lack of cover as a barrier to switching", according to the report.

Health Insurance Authority CEO Don Gallagher said:

"It is encouraging that there is a general, overall market satisfaction with insurance providers."

While he welcomed the generally positive reviews by customers, Mr Gallagher still urged people on to keep their eyes open.

"Even though the research highlights that consumers have a preference to remaining with their current insurance provider, we would strongly recommend that consumers actively review their health insurance," he said.

Mr Gallagher added: "We would advise to do so especially during their policy renewal period to ensure that they are currently appropriately insured."

The HIA, besides general information and regulations, also provides a comparison service for private health insurance companies.

So far, only one in four people that are aware of this comparison service do actually use it. 

Among them, over 60pc already have experiences with switching their insurance policy.

Mr Gallagher described the HIA’s tool: "Consumers can utilize the enhanced HIA’s Comparison Tool that is available on our website.

"It allows consumers to review and choose the most appropriate plans for their circumstances and compare benefits and prices of plans side-by-side."

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