herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Check small print if taking a health plan

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar

Anything which brings down the cost of health insurance is a good thing in my book, so I am pleased to see all four providers introducing 'yellow pack' plans before new costs come in.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar is encouraging people to take out health insurance early in life, using the stick, rather than carrot, approach of charging those over 34 a penalty for waiting to do so.

Levy

Personally, I think he could get thousands more to sign up if he removed the levy the Government takes on every single policy of €399 per adult, but that's just me.

The new plans are restrictive and while they're better than nothing, customers should arm themselves with information about what's not covered.

Entry level plans start from €409 p.a. from Glo. Aviva is €425, Laya €430 and VHI €449. They cover public hospital admissions (i.e. you won't have to pay the €75 per night fee) in a semi-private room, which are like hens' teeth in any event.

What you won't get are extras like GP fees, elective surgeries or things like hip and knee replacements covered.

The other warning is that if you choose to upgrade your cover at a later stage you could be in for a wait: two or more years of paying the premium without the benefit.

Approach with caution.

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