herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Worried health insurers offer free child cover

UNDER-PRESSURE health insurers are desperately trying to staunch the flow of exiting members by covering children for free.

The three main companies have declared families can save almost €500 with their new 'kids for free' deals.

More than 70,000 people a year are abandoning their health cover because they can no longer afford to pay the skyrocketing premiums.

As thousands more are expected to quit private health insurance this month, the companies are seeking to coax as many as possible to renew by offering to cover their children free of charge for one year.

VHI was first with its children offer and now Quinn and Aviva are offering similar deals. All three companies have been hit hard by the realisation that they cannot keep jacking up premiums and expect that people can just keep paying.

This is a crucial period in the year when more than 800,000 people make their decisions on whether to renew their annual health cover or not.

Switching

VHI is offering free cover for children under the age of 18 on the One Plus and Parents & Kids plans for a year. This would mean savings of around €460 a year for a family with two children on the Parents & Kids plan and a similar saving for those on the One Plus plan.

But the VHI offer only applies to those renewing their insurance or switching to the VHI between February 15 and March 16. Unlike its two main competitors, VHI does not allow its customers to break out of or cancel their policies inside the 12-month period of their contracts.

Quinn will offer a deal from this weekend for the next month offering free cover for children and students on its Essential Select plan. This could save a family with two adults and two children as much as €460.

Aviva's new Family Value plan with free child cover will be on offer for a month too.

Dermot Goode of www.healthinsurancesavings.ie said families should realise that each of these plans have excesses in private hospitals and, in some cases, these excesses may exceed the savings actually made.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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