Around 100,000 people could be forced out of the private health insurance market because of a new hike in premiums. As a result of the latest private health insurance hike, families will have to pay an extra 800 a year.
This premium hike created fears that thousands more will give up private healthcare for the overstretched public system. Already around 6,000 who cannot meet the rising costs are being forced to give up their private medical insurance every month.
Quinn Healthcare will add a 6% policy price rise to those that have already given up their health insurance this month. Further increases are expected this year from all 3 insurers - VHI, Aviva and Quinn Healthcare, because the Budget measures passes on more hospital costs to health cover providers.
Quinn announced a 6% rise which comes into force in March. Aviva is all set to increase its policy prices by 15% from next month. VHI will announce a new round of increases within weeks, after 2 increases which pushed up the price of some policies by 48% last year. Experts expect the VHI to admit that policies will rise at least 15% this year.
Quinn Healthcare blamed the hike on the 40% increase in the levy imposed by the Government on private healthcare policies. Managing Director of Quinn Healthcare, Mr. Donal Clancy said that the higher levy would cost his company 20m in a year and admitted more people would have no choice but to give up health cover.
The Government is planning to have more rises in the offing as it plans to charge a health insurer every time a person with private cover uses A&E in a public hospital. Legislation will be introduced later this year to bring in this new system. This will cost insurers around 143m.
The cost of a typical policy for two adults and two children on Essential Plus Excess will jump from 2,151 (in January last year) to 2,959, which is a 38% increase. This means the cost for health cover will jump by 808 over a year. An average family would need to devote 5,000 before tax earnings just to cover their healthcare costs under this plan.