VHI announces cuts to health insurance plan premiums

Company also plans to add benefits to some plans for those renewing from March 1st

Private health insurer VHI has announced further cuts to premiums for the majority of its plans from March. Photograph: Hugh Macknight / PA Wire

Private health insurer VHI has announced further cuts to premiums for the majority of its plans from March. Photograph: Hugh Macknight / PA Wire

 

VHI has announced further cuts to premiums for the majority of its private health insurance plans.

According to VHI, the average reduction across its plans is 5.5 per cent. The cuts range from as little as 2 per cent on some plans while premiums on others will fall by as much as 14 per cent.

The new lower charges will only come into force on March 1st.

The cuts will apply to all consumer and company plans, with almost 90 per cent of its customers benefiting from a reduction of some kind. Those on the health insurer’s corporate plans will not see a reduction in premiums. According to the Health Insurance Authority’s website, a number of corporate schemes are set to become a bit more expensive in the coming weeks.

Under community rating rules, customers can buy any plan VHI offers, regardless of whether they are an individual, company or corporate customer. However, the majority of VHI’s customers are on consumers and company policies, with the corporate plans generally bought by large firms as a benefit for workers.

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“As a not for profit organisation that exists solely to meet the healthcare needs of our customers, we are pleased to be in a position to give back to our customers today,” said Declan Moran, director of marketing and business development. “This is due to a solid business performance over the last number of years supported by another strong financial performance in 2017.”

The company highlighted its HealthPlus customers, which were a beneficiary of the November reductions, as among those who could make significant savings.

An adult on Healthplus Extra, for example, will see their premium fall by €130 a year, or 5 per cent, when they renew from March, while HealthPlus Premium will be 11 per cent cheaper for two adults, or just under €388.

A family of two adults and two children on the One Plan Starter at a current cost of €1,550 a year, will see the price fall by about 14 per cent, a saving of more than €220.

At the lower end of the scale, a child’s cover under the One Plan Family will fall by 2 per cent to Just over €148 for the year.

The move follows a reduction in premiums for many plans announced last November. At that time, the company also increased some of the benefits it offers to customers. It is adding benefits again to some plans on this occasion.

Among the benefits that VHI is adding to some of its plans are access to an online doctor, genetic testing for hereditary cancer on certain plans covered at Blackrock Clinic, and strength and conditioning coach visits on 26 plans.

VHI has more than one million customers, but its position as the legacy incumbent in the market means it also has the largest percentage of older subscribers.

However, many customers renew at the start of the year and will not benefit form the latest premium reductions until January 2019, assuming no increases between now and then.