Health insurance policies rise as sector continues to recover

Number of people with insurance is now approaching pre-recession peak of 2.3m in 2008

Figures  show 2,157,000 people covered to the end of June 2017. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Figures show 2,157,000 people covered to the end of June 2017. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

 

The Irish health insurance market has continued its recovery with the number of those covered now just slightly off pre-recession levels.

Figures released by the Health Insurance Authority (HIA), the industry regulator, show 2,157,000 people covered to the end of June 2017. That figure represents an increase of 24,000 people over the past year.

Those total is now narrowing in on the 2008 peak cover level of 2.3 million policies.

The sector experienced a significant drop off during the recession when people began to shed cover in a bid to cut personal spending costs.

Recovery

While Friday’s figures show the continuation of the sector’s recovery, the number of policies is still below that of 2010 and 2011 when 2.2 million and 2.16 million people held policies respectively.

The HIA’s 2016 annual report showed private health insurance was the largest non-life insurance market with total premiums of €2.53 billion.

The market continued to recover in 2016 with an increase in the total number of people insured to 2.15 million in December 2016, an increase of 30,000 on December 2015. Average claims paid per insured person increased by 1 per cent.

The average amount paid for in-patient cover remained broadly unchanged at €1,177 per person from €1,173 the previous year.