Watchdog can help ease confusion over insurance . . .
Q: WE CANNOT afford our health insurance as my husband has been made redundant. If I cancel the insurance, will I be able to resume it when my husband gets another job?
A: IF you cancel your health insurance for more than 13 weeks, when you resume cover you may have to reserve waiting periods before you are again fully covered. Cover would be immediately available for accident and injury. The maximum waiting periods an insurer can impose for other conditions that are not pre-existing is 26 weeks in respect of a person who is under the age of 55.
If you have a pre-existing condition, the insurer can impose a waiting period in respect of cover for treatment for this condition.
The maximum waiting period that the insurer can impose in this case is five years for a person who is under 55. These maximum waiting periods apply from the date of policy resumption.
You should talk to your insurer about the situation. They may offer you a longer break of cover than 13 weeks without having to reserve waiting periods. They may also suggest some alternative plans which are less expensive and provide a lower level of cover than you believe is essential to continue
Alternatively, the Health Insurance Authority provides a product comparison facility on its website, www.hia.ie, or, get in touch directly on 01-4060080.
Q: I am totally confused about what benefits are available to me in my health insurance policy. The benefits seem to change every year.
A: Insurers, at the annual policy renewal, send out, in addition to the renewal notice, a table of benefits in respect of the following policy year. Once again, the HIA should be able to assist you with any problems you might have.