'Private' cancer patients face €9k bill hike
CANCER patients with private healthcare face forking out an additional €8,750 in bills for treatment from next year.
Private hospitals are locked in discussions with health insurer VHI over a dispute to cap reimbursements next year.
Patients who are insured with VHI could only be covered for 75pc of the cost of their treatment.
This means a patient undergoing prostate cancer treatment of €35,000 would ultimately have to pay a top-up of €8,750.
Alternatively, they may feel obliged to switch hospitals if they want full cover.
The insurer is now looking to make the cuts in the amount it pays hospitals for all procedures.
Hospitals such as Blackrock Clinic, the Mater Private and the Beacon Hospital could be downgraded from as early as January.
The VHI wants to put a cap on the amount of money it will pay out to these hospitals next year, regardless of the number of their insured patients treated.
The hospitals have said that a fixed sum would mean that the money would run out around October.
In its correspondence to private hospitals, VHI said that it was currently unable to "generate sufficient premium income to fund our customers' healthcare needs."
But the hospitals in question are refusing to agree to the new payment arrangements and relations with the VHI are deteriorating.