VHI set to hit families with €100 price hikes
STATE-owned health insurer VHI is pushing up the price of its premiums - costing families more than €100.
The insurer had consistently said this year it had no plans to replicate the prices rises announced by its rivals in the past few months.
But yesterday VHI announced it would increase prices by 1pc and 5pc, and will see some families having to pay more than €100 extra if they renew or take out a plan from November.
The insurer said it was the first rise in 20 months and is necessary to cover the higher cost of claims.
Families with two adults and two children on the popular One Plan Family will see the cost jump by €105 a year to €2,708.
The adult rate for the One Plan is going up by €32 a year.
The move comes after 65 Laya plans went up for those renewing from this month, in a move that will see families paying up to €500 more when they renew. Laya pushed up prices by an average of 4pc.
Aviva increased its rates by 5.5pc on average for those renewing or taking out a new plan while GloHealth announced rises of 5pc earlier in the year.
The increases from the four insurers are despite thousands of new customers taking up health insurance for the first time in May to beat new late- entry levies.
VHI's director of marketing and business development Declan Moran said the company was being hit with higher costs due to improved medical technologies, new life-saving drugs and new treatments. There is a rise in the number of customers seeking medical care, he added.
The VHI is the State's largest private health-insurance provider, with about one million customers and €1.5bn in annual premium income.
The VHI surprised the market at the start of this year when it said it was cutting the prices on a number of plans and said there would be no increases on other schemes.
Health insurance expert Dermot Goode said the fresh hikes will coincide with the ending of a half-price offer for children.
"I am surprised that the VHI has announced price rises, which I had not expected this year, and given what the company had said previously about prices," Mr Goode, of Totalhealthcover.ie said.