Monday 17 December 2018

Campaign puts fresh pressure on health insurers over premiums

The One Big Switch campaign expects to see many people switching health insurers
The One Big Switch campaign expects to see many people switching health insurers
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

HEALTH insurers are set to come under fresh pressure to cut their premiums with the launch of a new campaign.

The One Big Switch campaign, which prompted Bord Gais to offer a €200 discount deal to the 64,000 people who signed up for that, is now to focus on private medical cover.

The Big Health Insurance Switch is seeking 25,000 consumers to sign up. It will then approach the four health insurers and seek a discount deal for those who have came on board.

The campaign aims to convince at least one health insurer to offer more affordable products.

It said it was hoping to get a deal on lower prices on a whole range of policies from one insurer.

However, it admitted that under the law, any discount or lower price will have to be made available to anyone who asks for it, and not just those who sign up.

Experience shows that other providers will be forced to follow, Sarah Ryan of the One Big Switch group said.

Health insurance premiums have shot up in the past few years. Affordability has been hit by a higher levy on every policy and a restriction on tax relief on policies.

Ms Ryan said the campaign will involve consumers registering their interest at www.OneBigSwitch.ie.

"One Big Switch will then use the people power of the 25,000-plus consumers to unlock more affordable health insurance offers," she said, adding that the campaign was needed because health insurance premiums have risen by 58pc over the past six years, forcing over 250,000 consumers to drop out of the market.

The health insurance affordability crisis is driven by rapidly rising prices, driving many families out of the system, and putting financial pressure on families who choose to stay in schemes, Ms Ryan said.

"Households are fed up with health insurance costs spiralling up. Consumers have to take matters into their own hands, to take real action to tackle the crisis. This campaign is a chance for mums and dads to stop complaining and start acting."

Irish Independent

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