Monday 27 May 2019

‘I’m kicking myself I didn’t shop around sooner’

Geraldine McGuire at her home in North Dublin
Geraldine McGuire at her home in North Dublin

Allison Bray

Retired teacher Geraldine McGuire has a simple message for other health insurance consumers: buyer beware.

The 66-year-old UK native, who moved to Ireland in 1978, says she has no one to blame but herself for not shopping around for a better deal on her health insurance.

When she started teaching at a private school decades ago, she joined Vhi simply because it was offered as a group scheme at work. As a busy professional, she didn’t have time to shop around and just kept renewing her Health Plus Choice policy year after year.

Last year, the policy — which she described as not being “top of the range”, cost her a whopping €2,700 to cover herself alone.

“I just went with whatever was suggested,” said Geraldine, who lives in north county Dublin.

But following a chance conversation with her pension advisor about changing her health cover, she was referred to insurance broker Dermot Goode, who shopped around for a nominal fee.

The result was her annual premium was slashed in half when she switched to Laya’s Complete Simplicity plan, which now costs her €1,350 a year.

And the differences in coverage between the two policies are marginal, she said.

Even though she has enjoyed good health and was only ever hospitalised once for a few days for a minor procedure, she always took out health insurance.

“I considered very seriously not having cover when I retired,” she said.

But on the advice of some family members who are in the medical profession, she decided to maintain her coverage, despite the cost.

However, now that her costs have been slashed in half, she is kicking herself for not shopping around sooner.

“I’m absolutely delighted with the switch,” she said.

“Now I’m going to look at switching other (utility) providers as well,” says Geraldine.

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