Further increases in health insurance premiums cannot be ruled out later this year, according to one health insurance expert.
Laya Healthcare followed rivals Irish Life Health and VHI in announcing a hike in the cost of some of its premiums late last week.
It means all of the providers in the market have recently increased or are about to increase premiums.
However, Dermot Goode of totalhealthcover.ie – part of the Lockton Insurance Group – warned that the premium increases that were announced are averages and, while some plans will not increase in price, others will increase by more than the average.
“Some VHI plans will go up by nearly 7%, one or two Laya plans could go up by as much as 10%. Some people could be hit by double the average figures. The days of rebates and zero increase are behind us,” he explained.
He said more premium increases later in the year were a distinct possibility.
“I would love to say that there won’t be increases until 2024, but they cannot be ruled out,” Mr Goode told Morning Ireland.
“It depends on how claims trends evolve over the year. The one thing they are consistently saying is that all their markers on cost drivers are increasing right across the board,” he added.
Dermot Goode advised consumers to shop around before renewing their cover.
“There are 320 plans on the market. Buried in there are a lot of plans that have not gone up or have gone up by a minimal amount.
“Engage with your insurer and ask them if they have a lower cost equivalent or a similar plan to what you’re on that’s less expensive and get them to check the plans for you,” he suggested.
As a rule of thumb, he said plans that cost more than €1,850 a year or plans that consumers have been on for 5 years or more generally represent bad value.
“The key is not to auto-renew,” he concluded.