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New deal insurers won't tell you about

HEALTH insurers are keeping families in the dark about cheaper deals which slash as much as €150 per person annually off a premium.

The insurers have launched a range of new plans which they are offering to firms that buy health cover for their staff.

Under law, families are entitled to the same cheaper deals but they have to specifically ask for the rates which the insurers are not advertising publicly.

Four private health insurers have come up with 11 new plans aimed a signing up companies that pay for private cover for their staff. The deals offer cuts of between €73 and €150 per person per year.


Insurance experts say the move has been put in place ahead of the peak season for policy renewals when VHI, Laya, Aviva and Glo compete to sign up new companies.

Some of the plans will only be on offer for 30 days and the public are not being told about them, says insurance expert Dermot Goode of www.healthinsurancesavings.ie.

While the law states that corporate plans have to be made available to anyone who asks for them, there is no obligation on the insurers to market these plans to the general public.

Mr Goode says changes have been made to 26 plans with most of these coming into effect on Saturday, December 1.

This is because most big companies that buy health cover for their staff renew their policies in December.

"The insurers have been caught out offering special deals to their corporate clients.

"The insurers are doing all sorts of behind-the-scenes deals to lock down their corporate clients," he said.


Mr Goode says the VHI has cut the price on one of its corporate plans -- known as PM! 28 12 -- by 14pc. This means the annual price for an adult under this plan has fallen by €150 to €915.

Laya has also dropped the price of its Company Plan No Excess by €57.85 a year to €1,099 a year and Aviva has cut its Business Plan Hospital Plus by €73 to €964 a year.

New player Glo has also reduced the price on some of its corporate plans.

Typically these plans, which are paid for by companies for their staff, also benefit from a 10pc group discount.

All plans are outlined on the health regulator's website at www.hia.ie.