50% saw health cover costs soar after opt-outs

More than half of people with health insurance claim their premiums have "skyrocketed" due to the exodus of 300,000 policy holders from the market since 2008.

A survey by consumer network One Big Switch found that 99% of its more than 15,000 members have felt “significant negative impacts” due to hundreds of thousands of people exiting the health insurance market since its peak in 2008.

Eight out of 10 of those who have never bought health insurance said the reason they had not done so was because it is too expensive.

One third of those who’ve given up their health insurance have delayed temporarily or permanently a significant medical treatment or procedure as a result of giving up their policy.

Despite this, 90% considered private health insurance to be a necessary spend. The primary reason for people taking up health insurance was a belief that the public system was not adequate.

Director of campaigns with One Big Switch, Sarah Ryan, said the report highlighted the helplessness felt by the community who are struggling to afford basic healthcare.

“People are suffering as a result of rising premiums but at the same time value their health insurance as a necessary spend so can’t give it up. Understandably so, when you consider the alarming number of people who have delayed treatment or a procedure as a result of giving up their private health insurance,” she said.

One Big Switch is encouraging consumers to register for its “people power” campaign, the Big Health Insurance Switch, which aims to use the buying power of the 15,000-plus registrants to negotiate more affordable cover for all.

The campaign comes after almost 65,000 signed up for their electricity campaign saving hundreds of euro.


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