INSURER Irish Life Health will increase the cost of its plans for those renewing or taking out a new plan from early January.
The increases bring health insurance costs up from €80 per year to €170 per year for a family of two adults and two children.
It’s the first insurer this year to announce a wide-ranging increase in the cost of its policies, with both Vhi and Laya offering rebates earlier in the year instead.
However, Vhi and Laya will now follow with price increases, an expert said.
A livelihood crisis ensues that is expected to cost the average family around €3,000 a year as energy, fuel and food costs are soared.
Irish Life’s move will increase the cost of Irish Life Health’s popular benefits plan by €67 per adult, which means an additional cost of €155 for a family of two adults and two children.
The higher prices are effective from January 1st, but if a large number of contracts are renewed on December 31st, they can escape the higher premium costs.
The Benefit 2 plan is €141 more expensive for a family of four, and the Benefit Access 300 plan is €144 more expensive for a family.
According to Irish Life Health, the changes will result in an average annual gross premium increase of 4.5 per cent for adults for customers.
The announcement comes a day after Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly said he had received government approval to increase the annual levy on so-called advanced health insurance contracts to €438 a year.
It will increase by €32 from April on most plans.
That will make the levy about a third of the cost of typical adult health insurance.
It is understood that Irish Life Health’s recent price increase announcement does not take into account the higher cost of the government levy.
Irish Life said it is increasing the cost of its plans due to “a very significant inflation in the price of hospital treatment that has occurred recently”.
The most important factors are the very significant increase in energy and other utility costs, as well as the recent collective bargaining agreement in the public sector for health workers, it said.
Changes vary by plan.
HealthGuide plans remain at the introductory price from February this year, and there is no increase for First Cover, a recently introduced entry-level plan. At €464 per adult per year, it is still the cheapest health insurance on the market.
Irish Life Health Managing Director Ger Davis said: “We recognize that these changes will be difficult for customers who are already experiencing price increases in many areas.
“Like many other parts of the economy, the healthcare sector, and hospitals in particular, are now experiencing significant inflationary pressures that will impact health insurance claims costs.”
He said the insurer is passing on the lowest possible increase it can.
The new prices apply to new customers starting January 1st next year and existing customers whose renewals are due starting January 1st next year.
Health insurance broker Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie said other insurers are now following with rate increases.
He said Irish Life Rises will cost a family of two adults and two children between €70 and €170 extra per year depending on which plan they renew.
“We can expect the others to follow suit with their own increases.”
He said it was the first across-the-board increase in health insurance costs this year, with Vhi and Laya paying rebates this year instead. This was because health insurance claims had declined as people only used private hospitals for essential treatments during Covid.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/health-insurance/irish-life-to-increase-the-cost-of-its-health-insurance-plans-42172996.html Irish Life is increasing the cost of its health insurance plans