‘Pay as you go’ health insurance on the way to prevent people abandoning their cover

A health insurer has begun offering ‘pay-as-you-go’ cover in a bid to prevent some people dropping their current plans.

GloHealth chief executive Jim Dowdall said ‘GloHealth Activate’ — which has two different cash and two different hospital options — was the first “radical” plan on offer in Ireland to tackle the “affordability issue” which has resulted in tens of thousands of people dropping their health cover in recent years.

The plans provide for cash back for scans, tests and other diagnoses, including consultant visits and also grants access to GloHealth’s 24-hour Nurse Line and cash back for every night spent in hospital, from €33 per adult per month.

The company said it would also allow customers to upgrade back-to-hospital cover whenever they wanted. The move comes amid growing concern over the huge number of people dropping health cover for affordability reasons.

Almost 300,000 people have dropped their health insurance since the end of 2008, with the most recent figures from the Health

Insurance Authority (HIA) showing that just over two million people were insured with inpatient health insurance plans at the end of March this year — down 21,000 over the quarter and 47,000 over the course of a year.

Rising premiums have been blamed for the exodus, and Health Minister Leo Varadkar has already signalled that the Government’s long-mooted universal health insurance plan will not be in place by the intended 2019 deadline.

GloHealth said its new Activate plans — available from September 1 — would provide cover and allow people to save money.

Under two plans, called Activate Cash and Activate More Cash, customers can choose the cash plan based on how much they want to pay and how much cash back they would like to receive for each benefit.

The Activate Hospital plans also have two different components, Activate Hospital and Activate More Hospital. People can upgrade from the corresponding Activate Cash plans at any time and GloHealth said it would reduce the upgrade waiting period by two years for pre-existing conditions. Those under the age of 65 can upgrade back-to-hospital cover without any waiting period applying to the upgrade in cover.

The price plans are graded from adult down to newborns. The insurer estimated that a family of two adults and two children could save €527.26 under its Activate Cash plan over the course of a year, compared with a basic plan, and that a similar family could save €676.64 with its Activate More Cash plan, compared with the Better Choice Plan.

Jim Dowdall said the plans and pricing structure could appeal to “tens of thousands of people”

“It will help stem the tide of people who are falling out of the market and encourage others to come back,” he said.

He also welcomed Mr Varadkar’s recent remarks on universal health insurance not being in place by the original 2019 deadline, stating that companies needed to focus on the issues faced by families now rather than in five years’ time.

lFor more informationsee glohealth.ie.

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