Vhi Healthcare is the largest health insurer in the State and is a State owned enterprise whose members are appointed by the Minister for Health. The Vhi was set up in February 1957 under the Voluntary Health Insurance Act with the purpose of offering Health Insurance Schemes to those who could not, at that time, avail of Public Hospital Services. Vhi operated as a monopoly in the Health Insurance Market from February 1957 until BUPA entered the Irish market in December 1996, almost 40 years later.
Since then Vhi’s market share has been reduced to 55% and within that percentage is the highest number of the oldest consumers in the market.
This remains a challenge for Vhi as they have the largest claims payments of any of the insurers. Vhi only became regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland in July 2015 as this was the first time since deregulation that they could meet the solvency requirements laid down by the Central Bank. This was achieved through a partnership with Berkshire Hathaway through a combination of reinsurance and subordinated debt.