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Time to consider your options for health insurance

Another shockwave hit the health insurance market with the news that private patients are to be charged full price for using public beds – up to €1,200 a night. Insurers have said premiums could rise by up to 30pc.

Premiums can't change until policy renewal dates. Then, consider the following:

* Compare what's available on www.hia.ie.

* Drop down a plan: do you really need GP cover? It's very expensive and there's a hefty excess.

* Consider putting kids on a hospital-only plan, and adults on a corporate plan. You'll save money.

* The biggest cost is private rooms. Wouldn't you like a bit of company if you're stuck in hospital?