VHI to hike prices by 6% with some premiums to rise by €300

Health insurer says rising costs in hospitals, increases in consultants’ fees among reasons

Private health insurer VHI has announced price increases of 6 per cent. Photograph: iStock

Private health insurer VHI has announced price increases of 6 per cent. Photograph: iStock

 

Private health insurer VHI has announced price increases of 6 per cent which will see the cost of some of its premiums climbing by more than €300 a year.

The company said rising costs in hospitals, increases in consultants’ fees and a wider range of treatments and drugs were among the reasons for the price hikes.

It defended the increases and said they were needed “to ensure the cost of the future healthcare needs of its customers in 2020 and beyond can be met”.

The price changes will see the cost of the popular One-Plus plan climb by €85 a year to €1,204 a year for one adult while the annual price of the company’s HealthPlus Premium product will rise by €320 a year to €3,495. The HealthPlus Extra plan will climb by €186.12 per year.

All the price increase are set to kick in from August with the changes impacting policy holders from their policy renewal date.

Last month Laya Healthcare said it was increasing the prices on almost 100 of its plans from the beginning of next month while the third player in the health insurance market Irish Life raised prices by an average of 3.3 per cent this month.

VHI spokesman Declan Moran said the company had made a commitment to customers it would “pass on any savings we make directly to them” where that was possible and he added that it had cut prices in 2017 and 2018.

“Although we have announced price increases today, Vhi customers’ average premium prices are still lower than in August 2017,” he said.

Last year the VHI paid out €1.328 billion in claims and processed almost 1.2 million claims for 1.1 million.

“Medical inflation globally continues to rise,” Mr Moran said. “Today’s price increase reflects rising costs in hospitals, increases in consultants’ fees, increased utilisation of medical services by our customers and the broadening range of innovative treatments and drugs available in healthcare today.”

Mr Moran said the company was conscious that its customers face “financial pressures”.

He repeated the assertion that it had kept costs down over the last number of years “through prudent cost management and has passed the benefits of reduced claims costs, particularly in public hospitals, back directly to our customers in price reductions and increased benefits.”