VHI offers families €200 back due to falling claims

Insurer saw lower than expected claims in 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic

As well as offering the rebate, VHI is also increasing the cost of a number of its plans at the end of this month

As well as offering the rebate, VHI is also increasing the cost of a number of its plans at the end of this month

 

Health insurer VHI said on Monday it would waive a portion of members’ premiums in recognition of a drop in claims due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The move means that an adult member will get €75 back, while a family of four will receive €200 back.

The decision is a welcome development for households who are renewing private health insurance policies at year-end – particularly given that the cost of health insurance has started to rise again.

As well as offering the rebate, VHI is also increasing the cost of a number of its plans at the end of this month, while last month Laya Health signalled the cost of 46 of its plans would go up, and Irish Life increased the cost of some of its plans from October 1st.

VHI’s decision to offer a rebate at the end of January is the second time it has done so. Earlier this year, in the heat of the pandemic, VHI and other insurers waived a proportion of member’s premiums for a three-month period, as a result of restricted access to private hospitals.

Now the insurer says it can offer members a further rebate, due to lower-than-forecast claims levels in 2020 arising from Covid-19.

It means that everyone insured by the group will be entitled to a rebate of €75, or €25 for every child insured. For a family of two adults and two children, this will involve a refund of €200 come the last week in January.

No action needed

In a statement, the VHI said policyholders would be paid directly into their bank accounts or receive a cheque, and that members did not need to take any action.

John O’Dwyer, chief executive of VHI, said that following a review, claims were found to be lower than anticipated. However, he notes that claims activity is picking up again.

“While we continue to live with Covid-19, our experience is that customers are again availing of elective and critical care in private healthcare facilities. All providers, including VHI’s own healthcare facilities, have changed the way they operate and put new processes and procedures in place. We have supported health-and-safety measures to protect front-line healthcare staff and patients.”

Dermot Goode, a health insurance adviser with total healthcover.ie, said that the move is “absolutely good news” for all VHI members, given the upward trend of rates generally in the market.

He added that those who get their health insurance paid by an employer should also benefit, as it will mean they will pay a reduced level of benefit in kind tax on their premiums.