Dizzy in the maze of health insurance


Sir, – How I sympathised with Sean Fox’s foray into the tangled maze of comparative health insurance (Letters, August 4th).

I went there a couple of years back and foundered on the distinctions between A1, B3, C41 (the sobriquets were longer), ending up with my original provider, through fear more than anything else.

It’s not possible for the average person to make an individualised comparison between plans – given that you don’t know which contingency awaits you, how long the company will remain solvent or untaken-over, and how the Government will change the rules of the game (Sláintecare on the horizon). Bamboozlement is the order of the day.

I’m one of those despised faithful consumers. I don’t like changing providers. On the odd occasion when I do so, it seldom turns out as planned. The new all-helpful company puts up its rates within months, the old foot-dragging company invokes a hidden term that means I’m obliged to refund it a couple of months’ changes for the privilege of leaving it.

I really don’t want to spend any more of my precious and diminishing days reading through turgid legal terms and conditions and worrying about my understanding of them, plus, of course the fear that I’m missing out.

Why is it that our system rewards shrewd and canny consumers while failing to protect those who have difficulties (age, learning disability, etc)?

Why don’t the various well-remunerated regulators (in telecoms, energy and insurance) straighten out the playing field by insisting on Plain English documents, common rates for new and old consumers or at least a cap on differentials?

Would that not be more equitable than admonishing us to be rats running up and down provider- mazes? Or am I just a naive old fogey? – Yours, etc,


Dublin 13.