VHI announces refund of premiums and lower plan prices

Customers could be due between €100 and €300 per adult and €25 to €100 per child

Health insurer VHI has announced a refund for customers due to the continued reduction in claims because of the Covid crisis.

It said customers are in line to receive refunds of up to €300 per adult and a maximum €100 per child, depending on the type of policies they are on. Even those customers on its lowest plans will save up to €75 per adult and €25 per child following the announcement.

All customers who have a health insurance policy with VHI on May 1st will be eligible for the premium waiver and do not need to contact the company, the insurer said.

VHI said it would be in touch with customers shortly and would transfer the refund directly to policyholders’ bank accounts.

The insurer estimates that about €450 million will have been returned to customers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic once the latest refunds are administered.

Premium reduction

It also said it intends to reduce its prices by an average of 3 per cent across policies as of May 1st, again because of the Covid crisis.

Although claims from the private hospital sector are beginning to show signs of normalising, it is expected that claims from public hospitals will take longer to recover, the insurer said.

"While we are still only in the first quarter of the year, we can already determine that claims levels will not return to pre-pandemic levels this year. The continued pressure on the public hospital system in particular means that customers won't access as many procedures as in pre-pandemic times," said VHI chief executive Declan Moran.

“We understand that customers are under increased financial pressure with inflation building and, therefore, we are pricing this expected reduction in claims into our pricing with an average 3 per cent drop in premium price across our plans for the year ahead.

“We need to balance the anticipated drop in claims with the typical medical inflationary cost pressures which remain and we believe that the 3 per cent reduction will do that.”

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist