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In 2023, all three health insurance providers (Laya, VHI and Irish Life Health) have increased their premiums, with VHI now set to introduce a second price increase soon.
This has increased pressure on already cash-strapped individuals, couples and families who have faced price increases across the board amidst the cost-of-living crisis.
Understanding where the price increases lie, why and how to manage them is the best strategy for making sure you get the right plan for your needs and budget.
Let’s take a look at the price rises in more detail.
VHI set to raise health insurance premiums a second time
VHI Health Insurance is poised to apply its second premium hike this year, adding a significant financial burden to policyholders. This marks the second increase by the State-owned insurer in 2023, leaving typical family plans a staggering €400 more expensive upon renewal.
Starting from October, VHI is implementing average premium increases of 7%, a substantial rise in premium rates that has sparked concerns among policyholders.
This increase follows a 4.8% rise in March, which had already driven up the annual cost of a standard VHI plan for a family comprising two adults and two children by €250. Combining these two increases, the same plan will surge by nearly 12%. Some plans will face an even steeper cumulative rise of 14%.
In certain scenarios, it is estimated that a family of four could potentially end up shelling out an additional €400 due to these dual increases.
For older individuals who prefer specific plans, the financial blow is even more severe, with an anticipated €800 surge in policy costs on some plans.
VHI attributes these hefty premium increases to a substantial upswing in the demand for health insurance-funded procedures in the wake of years of Covid-related disruptions. Additionally, healthcare inflation is cited as a driving factor behind the rate hikes.
Despite these hikes, VHI insists that this year’s increases are the first in two years. The insurer points out that it had lowered prices by 3% in the previous year and had refunded a total of €450 million to policyholders between 2020 and 2022 through three separate payments. VHI attributes the pandemic’s significant impact on healthcare delivery in Ireland and rising costs related to healthcare to upward pressures on wages, energy, and other expenses.
Laya and Irish Life Health also increase their health insurance premiums
In a similar move, Laya, the second-largest health insurer in the country with approximately 700,000 members, has announced two premium rate increases, with the latest set to take effect in October. The company plans to raise policy costs by an average of 3%, on top of a 4.4% average premium rate increase earlier in the year.
Combining these two hikes, many policyholders will face an average increase of 7.8%. However, some may see their plans surge by more than the average, with increases of up to 16%.
Irish Life Health is also following suit with two rises, which will culminate in cumulative increases of up to 14%.
What can policy holders do about health insurance premium rises?
Prices may be on the increase but that doesn’t mean you have to pay more.
There are more than 320 plans on the Irish market and it is vital you review your policy every year to find a plan that suits your needs and your budget.
Many come with outstanding benefits such as unlimited online GP appointments, physio programs to support back and neck pain, dieticians, mental health support and even specialised female health consultations.
It is also important to anaylse what you need.
Do you really need a private room in a private hospital, or would you be happy with a semi-private room? Also check your excess; if you were comfortable increasing your excess, this may bring down your policy premium.
We understand health insurance can be overwhelming. That’s why our team is here to support you with a complete review of the market to identify the best plan for your needs.
Get in touch with a member of our team to arrange a review of your policy and help you beat the health insurance price rises.