Aviva to increase health costs by 14%


HEALTH INSURER Aviva, which has over 300,000 members in the Republic, is increasing the cost of its policies by 14 per cent from the beginning of March.

In an announcement due this morning, the State’s third largest health insurance provider will blame the price hikes on the increased cost of a private bed in a public hospital, medical inflation and the health insurance levy.

It is a flat increase and will impact on all policies by the same amount. The change in premiums means the cost of cover for an individual on its I Level 2 Plan, by far its most popular plan, will increase from €848 to €967, a jump of €119 per year. A family of two adults and two children on the same policy will see their annual premium increase by €356 a year from €2,544 to €2,900.

Customers switching from the VHI and Quinn Healthcare before March 1st will be subject to existing pricing while existing members will not see premiums increase until their next renewal.

The news comes three weeks after the VHI announced its premiums were increasing by as much as 45 per cent for some customers from February 1st.

While the average price hike for the majority of the VHI’s 1.35 million subscribers will be 15 per cent, people on the popular Plan B and Plan B Option were hit with increases of between 35 and 45 per cent.

Aviva said the cost of private beds in public hospitals had increased by 20 per cent while medical inflation was running at 9 per cent last year, but the company’s spokseman reserved his most withering criticism for the health insurance levy.

Revenue from it is used to pay for a tax relief scheme, costing more than €300 million, which is aimed at subsidising health insurance costs for people over the age of 50. The scheme was introduced as an interim measure after the Supreme Court struck down a controversial risk equalisation scheme in the sector.