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Sunday 25 March 2018

Families hit with €315 price rise in new wave of health cover hikes

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

A NEW round of health insurance hikes has begun, hitting a family with two children with rises of more than €300.

GloHealth said it was putting up plans by between 5pc and 10pc by the end of December.

This will mean rises of up to €315 a year for a family of two adults and two children.

Now Aviva is expected to follow up with a price rise next week, with Laya also set to announce rises.

The VHI said it was not increasing premium costs before the end of the year, but is expected to push through higher charges early in the new year.

The spate of new rises comes just weeks after the Budget restricted the tax reliefs on policies.

The tax relief changes are set to hit more than one million people, the Government has admitted.

From March, the majority of adults with health insurance will be hit by higher government-imposed levies on their policies.

These will rise by €49 per adult and €15 per child.

Health Minister James Reilly plans to charge health insurers at least €30m from January for using public hospitals. Experts said this would be passed on to consumers.

Health experts warned that all of this meant there would now be a slew of price hikes.

Dermot Goode, of, said: "This Glo announcement is just the start of a new round of rises."


He expects cumulative increases of between 15pc and 20pc over the coming weeks due to higher levies and the move by the Government to charge insured people for public beds in a public hospital.

GloHealth is pushing up the cost of its Better plan by 5pc, in a move that will cost a family of two adults and two children an extra €150 a year, according to Mr Goode.

The cost of the Best plan will rise by 11pc, in a move that will cost a family €315.

There is no change in the cost of the Good plan and a new 50pc rate for children over three.

GloHealth did not rule out further rises once the details on the €30m cost for insurers using public beds are finalised.

It blamed the latest premium rises on policy decisions from Mr Reilly.

Company boss Jim Dowdall said the government measures were sending costs up.

"The persistent and significant rises in health insurance costs, fuelled overwhelmingly by government policy decisions, have caused a continuing haemorrhage of younger, healthier customers from the private health insurance market," he said.

Close to 250,000 people have left health insurance since the downturn in 2007.

Over that period, the cost of the old Plan B from the VHI – now called Healthplus Access – has shot up from €613 for an adult to €1,705.

A mixture of changes to the tax reliefs last month and a number of price rises announced during the year mean that anyone renewing their policy from the end of the year is likely to be faced with additional costs of between 18pc and 20pc this year alone for the same plan, Mr Goode said.

Irish Independent

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