Rise in claims drives Laya Healthcare premiums up

Laya Healthcare is set to increase the price of many of its products by 4%, with one health insurance expert saying that it would be a “surprise” if VHI did not follow suit before the end of the year.

The Laya price review, effective from September 1, includes an average increase of 4% of the gross premium across 59 schemes. While the price hikes on some products are modest, the increases in other areas could cost some families between €100 and €200 more a year.

Dónal Clancy, managing director at Laya Healthcare, said: “We are acutely conscious of the impact this adjustment will have on some of our members, and we have tried to minimise the impact across our schemes.”

He said 49 schemes were not impacted by the price hike and that it was including free child cover from September 1 on its Essential Connect Health offer.

“This price review has been driven largely by the significant increase we have experienced in the number and costs of medical claims in the past year,” Mr Clancy said.

“We have seen an 18% increase in the volume of claims, while the cost of claims has climbed by 15% versus the same period in 2014.”

Earlier this year, both GloHealth and Aviva introduced their own price increases, and Dermot Goode of totalhealthcover.ie said he would be “surprised” if VHI did not increase their prices in the near future, although as yet there is no sign of that happening.

But he said many Laya customers could avoid the price increases by switching to other similar plans, and he argued that the average 4% increase was modest compared to some of the price hikes seen in the sector in recent times.

“It is all claims-related,” he said. “The smart shopper will be able to avoid these increases.”

The peak period for the renewal of health cover is the first quarter of the year and Mr Goode said many eyes would be trained on any budget measures which might affect the health insurance market.

Laya said it was extending cover and benefits in a number of areas, such as making its 24-hour confidential GP line benefit available across all schemes, and extending access to the Beacon hospital to 16 of its Simply 360 schemes.


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