Laya Healthcare customers facing second price rise in six months

Some families are facing an annual increase of close to €300

Customers of Laya Healthcare are to be hit with a second price rise in six months, with some families facing annual increases of close to €300.

The company said the cost of its policies would climb by an average of 2.3 per cent, although analysts have warned that some policies will increase by substantially more than that.

The price increases are being rolled out from the beginning of June, with policy holders facing the higher charges at renewal.

Laya has close to 600,000 customers and is the second largest provider of private health insurance in the State behind Vhi Healthcare. At the start of the year it announced price rises of an average of 2.9 per cent.

The company’s managing director, Dónal Clancy, said advances in medical treatments and technology were behind “significant increases in the cost of claims in private and hi-tech hospitals”.

He said that in spite of the disruption in access to hospitals as a result of Covid-19 “the volume and cost of claims in Ireland’s private and hi-tech hospitals continue to rise” ,

Health insurance expert Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover said the 2.3 per cent increase flagged by the company would add an extra €32 to the cost of health insurance for a family of two adults and two children on an entry level plan

However, he warned that the top-line figure was an average,“and it looks like some plans will increase by double this”.

“Consumers need to be wary of these average figures as their policy could be increasing by a much higher percentage.”

He noted that one scheme would cost an additional €134 for the same family while another was climbing by €152.

He said the repeated increases “could force many consumers to simply downgrade their cover or possibly cancel”.

The managing director of HealthCare Compare,Barbara Sheahan, said a family of two adults and three children on a mid-level plan could see an extra €284 added to the annual cost of their health insurance when it comes to renewal.

She said anyone coming up to renewal over the coming months would have to “start reviewing their options now to ensure their plan is providing the best value for money”.

“It’s vital you review your plan each year: many members miss out on huge savings by auto-renewing their policy without scrutinising whether it’s still meeting their needs or if a better plan is available.”