FAMILIES were today facing more financial pain after private health insurer Quinn Healthcare said it will hike its prices by an average of 6pc.
Up to 500,000 customers are set to pay more from April in Quinn's second insurance policy price rise this year.
The increases follow a hike of 7.9pc from January 1 and comes on the back of price rises by VHI and Aviva.
It has prompted fears that the price rises by the three companies will drive many subscribers to withdraw from private health insurance schemes and take their chances on the public health system.
The new hikes come on top of further pressure on family money, including income tax changes and the Universal Social Charge.
The cost for a family of two adults, two children and one student, currently at €2,058, will rise by €65 to €2,123 when the Quinn Healthcare policy is due for renewal.
The premium for a single adult on its Essential Plus plan will increase from €898 to €976.
One of its packages, Company-Health Plus (no excess) will increase by up to 23pc -- but a spokeswoman said this accounted for less than 2pc of its membership.
It claimed it had no choice but to increase its prices because Government increases in levies and tax relief changes were going to add an unplanned €13m to its costs this year.
Quinn Healthcare general manger Donal Clancy said it had no other option.
He cited the increased levy each health insurance company must pay the Exchequer this year, which amounted to a rise of 11pc for each adult and 20pc for a child.
The company had also been put under increased pressure by the 21pc increase imposed on the cost of private beds in public hospitals as well as changes in age related tax relief.