Aviva to hike health policies by 5.2%

Consumers are facing further hardship as another major health insurer has announced an average hike in premiums of 5.2%.

Aviva to hike health policies by 5.2%

Aviva yesterday confirmed it will increase the cost of a large range of its private health insurance plans from Jan 1, with some policies rising by up to 11%.

The company provides health insurance to 320,000 customers.

The hike will see the average annual cost of health insurance with Aviva for a family of two adults and two children go up by almost €124.

Last week, GloHealth announced an average increase of 5.2% in its premiums from next year.

The country’s two largest health insurers, VHI and Laya, are also expected to announce similar increases in the near future.

Families with private health insurance were already facing increased costs due to the reduction of tax relief on annual premiums announced in October’s budget.

More than 1m people are being hit by the tax relief changes, increasing health cover for adults from €40 up to €800 a year.

Health insurers are warning of even more increases as a result of what they claim is the Government reneging on a commitment to ensure new charges for the use of public beds in public hospitals do not exceed €30m per annum.

The health insurance council of industry representative body, Insurance Ireland, yesterday expressed frustration at what it said was the Government’s failure to uphold its promise to amend legislation on public hospital bed charges.

Its chief executive, Kevin Thompson, said the current rates will raise €130m for the HSE, compared to the €30m claimed by Health Minister James Reilly during the summer. “That is an additional €100m over and above what was planned for and is completely unacceptable,” said Mr Thompson.

Aviva expressed regret for the need to increase costs, but said it had to impose price increases as a result of public hospital bed charges as well as a general increase in the cost of claims.

The insurer claims its customers could be charged up to €813 per night for a public bed in a public hospital from next month, compared to the current €75 per night charge following the Government’s decision.

However, Aviva said it was not raising the price of some of its newest entry level plans, while the cost of its Health Value Plan is being cut by 8% to €850.

Health insurance expert Dermot Goode advised some 400,000 consumers due to renew their policies next month to review their cover and reduce their premiums.

Meanwhile, commuters were also hit with hikes in the cost of public transport yesterday. Cash fares, Leap cards, and pre-paid ticket price hikes ranging from 2% to around 10% came into effect on Bus Éireann, Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, and Luas services.

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