- Posted by irishhealthinsurance
- On August 26, 2011
VHI was Ireland’s only private health insurer, a semi-state body, for nearly 40 years. Deregulation saw the appearance of BUPA, (replaced by Quinn Healthcare) and later VIVAS Health, bought over by Aviva Health.
Today, there are over 226 different plans to choose from and individuals, families, couples (both young and old) the length and breadth of Ireland are looking at this and choosing alternative plans that have similar benefits for genuinely lower prices.
SME’s and larger companies are also looking for better value by fine tuning the plans that they offer their staff.
The Irish Health Insurance market has seen significant changes in recent years with health levies imposed on every health insurance premium causing premiums to rise rapidly and VHI trying to manage their ageing book of customers by increasing premiums by 35% for its most popular plan, Plan B, in February of this year.
Plan B is going for good on a phased basis from September as VHI have decided to rename their most popular plans, Plans A, B, C, D & E, a move aimed to simplify the public understanding of what these plans offer by giving them new names and adding words like Premium, Platinum, Extra, Access and Excess into the title. Surely all this will result in is further confusion for their customers.
For SME’s & companies, the same confusion occurs with over 50 plans in the market with the name Business, Company or Corporate in their title. Greater choice and the option of introducing small excesses in return for lower premiums have seen companies switching their health insurer and or switching plans. At the beginning of the year Aviva Health engaged the services of market research company Red C who found that customers wanted lower premiums in return for small one off excesses for staff that needed private treatment.
Other recent changes in the market have seen VHI reduce cover for orthopaedic and ophthalmic procedures to 80% of the bill in private and hi tech hospitals like the Mater Private and Blackrock Clinic for all but one of VHI’s corporate plans. VHI have also introduced penalties for those who switch outside of their renewal date and prevent customers from altering their cover during the year if it is not in the companies’ interest. Quinn Healthcare & Aviva Health offer viable alternative plans for SME’s and companies.
So how does a HR Manager or Managing Director decide which is the best plan for their staff? – By asking for help and advice through health insurance specialists.
Director of Corporate Business
Irish Health Insurance
Please CONTACT US if you wish to discuss how this impacts your premiums, or if you need help to understand the best deals on the market in Health Insurance.