Cost of health insurance policies set to rise by hundreds of euro

Irish Life Health points to increase in healthcare claims made post-pandemic as other players weigh up premium hikes

Ambulances at St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. Ireland should brace for “rough” weeks ahead in its fight to contain one of the globe's worst virus outbreaks, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly warned. Photographer: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg

The cost of health insurance for about two million consumers could jump by about 5 per cent in the months ahead with the two leading providers likely to follow Irish Life Health in rolling out price hikes, according to one of the State’s leading health insurance analysts.

Increases on that scale would see many individual policies rise by in excess of €70 but, coming on the back of similar price increases rolled out earlier this year, many policies will climb by in excess of €140 over the course of the year with some family policies increasing by over €400.

While both the VHI and Laya Healthcare played down the prospect of a price increase this year, Dermot Goode from Total Health Cover said precedents suggested that when one provider increased its prices, “the others tend to move” soon after that.

Mr Goode also noted that the reasons Irish Life Health gave for increasing its prices from the start of July were also impacting other providers.


The Irish Life increase, its second since the start of the year, will see some family policies climb by between €160 and €220 with the hikes affecting customers who renew their policies from July 1st.

When it is added to the January increase, the annual cost of some family policies will climb by over €400.

Irish Life Health said it was acting as a result of “a very significant increase in the volume and size of claims” adding that, post-pandemic, “there has been a considerable ramp-up in activity across all public and private health services, with private and hi-tech hospitals returning to full service and many much-needed procedures that had been deferred during the pandemic now taking place”.

It said the level of claims in 2022 from private and hi-tech hospitals had been “the highest seen since the inception of Irish Life Health in 2016″ and pointed to “substantial medical and general inflation [which] has materialised over the last three years”.

Mr Goode said it would be prudent “to assume the other insurance companies are feeling the exact same pressure and maybe more so because they have a greater share of the market”.

He said for Irish Life Health to increase its prices twice in seven months with all the negative attention such a move brought was an indication of the “serious claims coming through”.

And he added that while he had anticipated a price increase from all companies towards the end of the year there was “now a real possibility that they might move sooner”.

However, when contacted, the VHI said that it “currently has no plans for a price increase”.

Laya Healthcare said it had no plans to increase its prices but a company spokeswoman told The Irish Times that it would continue to “closely monitor healthcare costs and trends”.

She added that “while we’ve no plans for another price review this year, we will continue to keep these cost pressures under close review and take a prudent view on claim cost management on behalf of our members”.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast