Elderly overpaying on outdated health insurance plans by €1,000, expert says

Consumers could face increases of between €300 and €600 when they renew their private health insurance plan this month.

Elderly overpaying on outdated health insurance plans by €1,000, expert says

Consumers could face increases of between €300 and €600 when they renew their private health insurance plan this month.

Health Insurance expert, Dermot Goode of totalhealthcover.ie says older people are most likely to overpay by as much as €1,000 on outdated plans.

Mr Goode is urging over 500,000 consumers who will renew their health insurance cover this month to shop around for best value.

Further price increases are likely this year as claim costs spiral and older people are most likely to overpay by between €500 and €1,000 on dated plans.

“More retirees renew in January than at any other time and many are still on poor value plans,” said Mr Goode.

VHI's Health Plus Premium is one of the more expensive plans with the new rate at €3,495 for a couple costing €640 more than the old rate.

Irish Life Health's Health Plan 09 is up €556 at €4,871 whileLaya's Essential Plus at €2,763 for a couple is up €336 on the old rate.

Mr Goode estimates that at least three out of five of all health insurance members are on the wrong plan and those over 50 are most likely to be on plans that have been around for between 10 and 20 years.

Mr Goode said the plans did provide a good level of cover but were simply way overpriced compared to other options now available.

According to totalhealthcover.ie the following plans are examples of poor value schemes and is urging consumers who may have any of the following plans to renew their cover as a matter of urgency.

VHI plans such as Health Plus Choice (€2,948), Health Access (€1,756), Forward Plan (€3,271), PremiumCare (old Plan E - €4,597) and even Family Plan Plus Level 1 (€1,635).

Laya Plans such as Essential Plus (€3,793), Essential Plus Excess (€2,852), Flex 125 Choice (€2,395), Company Health Plus no Excess (€2,421) and Health Manager (€4,917).

Irish Life Health plans such as Level 2 Hospital (€2,821), Level 2 Complete Health (€3,689), Optimise Silver (€3,973) and Optimise Platinum (€6,605).

Mr Goode believes consumers open to switching who don't mind taking on small excesses in private hospitals can make substantial savings by considering corporate plan alternatives that are available to all consumers irrespective of the plan name.

However, there are consumers on dated corporate plans too and they include VHI Company Plan Extra Level 2 at €1,838 per adult; Laya Company care Excess at €1,943 per adult and Irish Life Health Business Plan Select at €2,258.

Mr Goode said they were advising all health insurance members, both individuals consumers and those on employer schemes, to budget for at least a 5% cost increase this year.

“If you're on the same plan for three years or more, or paying more than €1,800 per adult, or if you don't have a small excess on your policy, then you're at risk of over-paying and a review of your cover is definitely recommended.”

Meanwhile, it has been reported that another insurer is willing to offer coverage to hard-pressed creche owners. Up to now, Allianz was the sole insurance provider for the sector through its partnership with Arachas Corporate Insurance Brokers.

Cullen Insurance, a broker with offices in Tipperary and Limerick, has got the go-ahead to offer a standard commercial combined policy from Slovenian underwriter Zavarovalnica Sava.

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