Health insurance price rises 'may cost families €250'
Families are facing a hike of up to €250 for their health insurance after a leading company increased its premiums, with others expected to follow suit.
Laya Healthcare have introduced new pricing that will come into effect from the start of next year.
Changes will be made to 49 of their plans, affecting half of the company's 500,000 members.
Premium rates are going up by an average of 5pc, although the price of seven Laya plans is going down.
Other insurers are now likely to impose higher premium costs next year, experts said.
Laya blamed higher costs imposed on health insurers by the Government for members using public hospitals.
It also said consultant charges had gone up by 9pc in public hospitals and by 12pc in private hospitals.
Laya announced two price rises earlier this year, hiking premiums by about 10pc.
Health insurance broker Dermot Goode - of TotalHealthCover.ie - said this was the start of a new round of price rises.
"These increases will cost families between €150 and €250 extra on top of other increases in March and July," he said.
"This is the first salvo and comes after the levy on policies was increased."
Last week, health insurer Irish Life said it was pushing up prices by an average of 6pc from the start of next month.
VHI has also announced price rises.
In last few days, the Government has said the levy on health insurance policies will go up by 10pc from April, a move health insurers said would push up premiums.