Laya to raise prices, and offer support for those seeking a sex change
LAYA Healthcare is increasing the price of a number of plans from July.
The insurer will also offer enhanced support for members seeking a sex change.
The health insurers said 82 of plans will see price rises of an average of 2.9pc, in a move that will amount to around €40 in extra payments a year per adult.
The move bucks the trend of price falls for health cover.
However, five plans will see prices fall. Nine plans will not have any price changes.
Laya had two successive price reductions in the past year, but now says it has been forced to reverse course due to a higher volume of claims and more claims.
It also blamed what it called a “significant increase in consultant costs”.
The second largest health insurer, Laya has around 500,000 members.
Price reductions will be introduced on five schemes; 360 Care Select, 360 Care, Simply Health Excess, Simply Health Starter and Future Protect.
They will come down in cost by an average 7.3pc.
Laya also said it will introduce additional benefits on its plans.
It will offer enhanced support for any member experiencing gender dysphoria, a feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex.
It said it will be the first health insurer in Ireland to a contribution towards hormone replacement therapy for gender dysphoria, a requirement for all patients before undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
It will add a benefit of €30,000 per lifetime towards surgeries currently not available in Ireland, subject to pre-authorisation. This benefit is available from July on 66 schemes.
The company will also add to all schemes a contribution of €1,500 per lifetime for fertility preservation, or egg freezing.
Sport Health Screening, provided by the Sports Surgery Clinic, will be added as a direct settlement benefit for a contributory amount on 37 schemes.
Laya managing director Dónal Clancy said the insurer was trying to simplify its product offering and introduce new benefits and schemes that will benefit members.
“We remain committed to maintaining our position as the best value healthcare insurance provider, but it’s becoming more and more challenging to protect our members from premium increases in the face of mounting claims costs.”
He said that better medical practices, high-spec technology and improved treatments are all translating into better patient outcomes, but they continue to drive medical costs higher, which in turn has an impact on premiums.