Top Tips on Health Insurance Savings
Almost every health insurance member will have to shop around for better value on the back of the latest price hikes. The good news is that with over 275 different options across 4 health insurers, Vhi Healthcare, Laya Healthcare, Aviva Health and GloHealth, there are plenty of alternatives worth considering.
Splitting your cover is an excellent way of reducing your family costs, e.g. put the children on a lower cost plan to the adults. All providers have ‘offers’ on the market for children under 18. For those with children under 3, Glo are out on their own as they offer free cover on their Better Plan Saver or higher for these children. Vhi are offering ½ price cover on some of their plans for all children under 18.
Many members pay way over the odds for students as they assume that the insurer will automatically apply the discounted rate once their child turns 18 – this is not the case! Make sure you advise the insurer of this change. Depending on the plan you’re on, you could save €700 or higher per student dependent.
For those parents still covering their adult dependents, make sure you’re not paying over the odds for their cover. Splitting the policy is highly recommended here and by putting these dependents on a good quality mid-level plan, you may be able to save between €509 and €795 per dependent.
Would you mind paying a small excess (per claim) for private hospital admissions? If not, you could reduce your overall premium considerably and still retain excellent cover. Savings will vary by plan but could be as much as €575 per adult.
If you are covered for a private room in a private hospital, you need to review your cover as this is never guaranteed. Our research shows that by dropping one level with the same insurer, your potential savings could range from €497 to €2,257 per adult.
Corporate plans are available to everyone and in many cases may suit your requirements. Always check for excesses, co-payments or waiting periods for the day-to-day cover before joining. If they suit you, there may be savings of up to €398 per adult. If you are on a dated plan which already includes ‘day-to-day’ cover (for routine medical costs), moving to one of the newer corporate options could reduce your costs by €305-€887per adult.
Three of the health insurers charge the same rate no matter how you pay. However, Laya Healthcare apply a 3% administration fee for direct debit payments. To avoid this and save between €66 - €125 (for a typical family), you should consider paying your premium up-front for the year.
For those members insured on the level 4 plans, they may find that these are no longer affordable due to the reductions in tax relief and the latest price increases. Reducing your cover to a quality level 3 plan could generate savings of between €619 - €2,868 depending on the provider and plan. Before doing this, you need to ensure that the lower cover meets your requirements and you understand the upgrade rule in case you wish to increase your cover at some stage in the future.
For those people who want to keep the bare minimum cover in place for private hospitals or believe they are highly unlikely to fall ill, they could go for a ‘high excess’ plan in return for a lower premium. This could generate savings from €179 - €420 depending on your current plan. Think carefully regarding these plans and ensure they meet your requirements.
Finally, some members believe they are on the best plan simply because they reviewed their cover 2-3 years ago. They need to realise that plans are changing all the time and their existing cover has already been hit by multiple price increases in this period. By considering some of the latest plans to hit the market, they may be able to achieve further savings of between €180 - €630.
Summary – shopping around has never been more important given the way rates continue to spiral. Think of health insurance like car and home insurance, i.e. shop around for the best deal; ask the right questions in terms of what you’re losing / gaining; and then switch. It really is very straight-forward. If in doubt, check out the Health Insurance Authority website (www.hia.ie) or get quality advice.Back