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Monday 24 June 2019

Vivas follows rival VHI with steep increase in premiums

PRIVATE health insurance provider Vivas is to increase the rates on its most popular plans by 10.5pc next month, just weeks after the VHI increased its premiums.

The move will mean that an average family will be faced with paying an additional €149.10 for Vivas's popular "We" plan.

The new prices will come into effect on October 10, the Irish Independent has learned.

Vivas, which is backed by AIB Bank, has blamed surging medical inflation for the price rises.

At the start of this month an 8.5pc rise took effect for VHI subscribers.

This meant that an average family now has to fork out €1,800 a year for VHI health insurance -- a hike of €141 --or 8.5pc.

Now Vivas is to follow the lead of the VHI and rise its prices by an average of 6.5pc. However, for the more popular "We" plans, which are for families, and "I" plans, aimed at individuals, the increases amount to 10.5pc.

The new rates mean that a family of two adults and two children will see their annual premium for the Vivas "We" plan go from €1,420 to €1,541 (the children's price rise is less than that for adults).

However, Vivas revealed that anyone who switches to it on Monday only will qualify for a 10pc discount on its pre-price-rise rates.

Quinn-Healthcare, which took over the business of Bupa earlier this year, has committed to freezing its prices this year.

However, it is expected to impose a rise early next year which will narrow the gap with its rivals.

Its equivalent cover for a family is €1,424.20 after tax relief at the standard rate.

The Health Insurance Authority (HIA), which regulates private health insurance here, has been encouraging customers to switch between insurers to get the best value.

Research by the HIA two years ago showed that only 1pc of the insured population switched providers each year.

The HIA's aim now is to ensure that the 40pc of people who last time claimed they didn't know they were able to switch, are now fully aware of their rights.

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