- Posted by irishhealthinsurance
- On July 8, 2011
VHI have announced that they are to rename their more familiar plans A through to E from the 1st of September 2011 on a renewal-by-renewal basis. Just under half a million of Vhi Healthcare customers are currently on Plans A-E.
The move will see Plan A and A Option become part of the One Plans range and will be renamed as One Plan Access and One Plan Access Plus.
Plans B to E will be renamed as HealthPlus Plans as per the table below:
|OLD PLAN NAME
|NEW PLAN NAME
|Plan B Excess
|Plan B Option
The Vhi’s Chief Executive Jimmy Tolan gave the following reasons for the decision:
“We are renaming plans A-E as part of our on-going strategy to ensure our plan names describe the type of cover that they offer and to make it easier for customers to understand the plan they have selected. Plans A-E worked well when they were introduced over 30 years ago however no longer describe the cover they contain. The new names have been chosen to represent the key characteristics of the plans and the cover they provide. Customers can be reassured that, while the plan names are changing, they will continue to enjoy comprehensive cover.”
In my opinion this move is a tactical distraction and will simply serve to further confuse the market. The notion that the intention was to introduce clarity or to better describe the benefits contained therein is simply patronizing.
He went on to say:
“Currently there are approximately 300,000 of our customers on Plan B or B Option. Today nearly 70% of Vhi Healthcare’s family customers are on a life-stage plan (i.e. Parents and Kids Plans, LifeStage Choices, One Plans) and less than 10% of new customers joining Vhi Healthcare are purchasing plans A-E.”
It would appear from this statement that the suggestion is that 90% of clients are choosing different more appropriate plans. In my opinion this is misrepresenting the issue. The issue is not that only 10% of people are choosing these plans, for the most part people do not choose their plans, they are advised as to which ones to choose and I suspect that if you are of a younger age, plans A to E do not come into the picture.
This appears to be a long term strategy of the Vhi to decommission these plans to new members and reserve them for their older more costly members, remember these are the plans that saw 25% to 45% increases this February and no attempt to change the name will change that. This is going to be unnecessarily confusing to the older customer base, who are the dominant subscribers to these plans, the only Vhi Plans that offer full cover for all orthopaedic and ophthalmic procedures, cover particularly important to older people.
Indeed rather than better describing these plans, this move could be better compared to moves by the British government to rename Windscale as Sellafield and the Burmese government to rename Burma as Myanmar.
This will only further confuse the market and make it more difficult for people who choose to shop around. It clearly increases the need for people to seek advice at renewal from a professional health insurance specialist to ensure they are getting the most appropriate cover available to suit their needs and budget.
If you are one of these half a million customers who will be effected, please contact us at Irish Health Insurance to ensure you are on the plan that most suits your needs.
Director of Corporate Business
Irish Health Insurance