Consumers need to be careful now and start shopping around again well in advance of the renewal of their health insurance cover, a health insurance expert has warned.
Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie was responding to the Vhi’s decision to increase its premiums by an average of 6% across its plans from August 1.
Vhi said the price increase, that followed a period of price reductions, was to ensure the future healthcare needs of its customers could be met “in 2020 and beyond”.
Mr Goode said the increase from the Vhi was expected and followed increases from Irish Life Health this month of about 3%. Laya Healthcare recently announced increases of around 2.9% from next month.
“Consumers need to be careful now and start shopping around again well in advance of renewal. By moving to more up-to-date corporate plans, significant savings are still possible,” he said.
He also warned Vhi customers to be careful as some of the older Vhi plans were increasing by between 8% and 10%.
Mr Goode, a leading health insurance expert, said the Vhi average increase was double that of the other insurers and removed most of the reductions made in the last two years.
“In many cases, the August 2019 rate will be similar to rates in place in 2017,” he pointed out.
Due to increasing claims costs, particularly from the private hospital sector, we’re now moving back into the familiar territory of annual price hikes on health insurance
Vhi’s director of marketing and business development, Declan Moran, said that, even with the price increases, Vhi customers’ average premium prices were still lower than in August 2017.
Last year, Vhi paid €1.328bn in claims and processed almost 1.2m claims for their 1.1m customers.
Ms Moran said medical inflation globally continued to increase.
“Today’s price increase reflects rising costs in hospitals, increases in consultants’ fees, increased utilisation of medical services by our customers and the broadening range of innovative treatments and drugs available in healthcare today.”