Experts at health insurance consultancy, TotalHealthCover.ie, have found that 3 out of every 5 health insurance members are potentially on the wrong plans and could be over-paying by up to €500 per adult for their cover.
The research, based on feedback from approximately 1,000 health insurance policy reviews, highlights consumer trends for the year to date within the Irish health insurance sector.
The TotalHealthCover.ie research also revealed some interesting insights into the impact COVID-19 is having on the market. It is estimated that 1 in every 3 people reviewed are now enquiring about the option for private room accommodation on their policy with COVID prompting concerns around sharing facilities. Travel cover has been a major concern for all customers in 2020 due to the uncertainty surrounding travel guidelines and rules.
There was general concern expressed by members about the inability to access essential treatment for ongoing medical care in many private hospitals for the 3 months that the HSE effectively leased the private facilities.
Whilst most understood the need for contingency planning, many commented that there was no way they would cancel their cover and rely totally on the public health system.
TotalHealthCover.ie report that whilst too many members don’t review their cover properly each year, there is evidence that consumers are better informed as to the protection offered by the health insurance legislation in Ireland. This is particularly evident amongst older members who seem to be more open to taking on excesses, splitting cover and also switching insurer for better value.
They have seen a significant rise in enquiries from younger family members looking to review cover for their elderly parents. The health insurance experts say affordability is a key factor driving this as many older members simply can’t afford the cost of their existing cover and they need to shop around to reduce their costs.
Commenting on the research, MD of TotalHealthCover.ie, Dermot Goode said, "Buyer behaviour within the health insurance market continues to improve with increasing numbers of older members in particular reviewing their cover and switching for better value. However, our analysis shows that still too many people do not review their health cover annually and as a result, are either paying too much for health insurance or do not have the cover they need, or often both."
He added, "Our message to policy holders is don’t let fear of change or inertia hold you back. Saving €500 - €1,000 on your health insurance bill could cover your car and home insurance premium so take steps now to avoid over-paying for your cover."