In May, 2015 the lifetime community rating (LCR) came into force which saw thousands of Irish people aged over 34 enter the health insurance market in order to avoid incurring any age loadings.
At the time it was heralded as a great success with insurers indicating the level of new entrants had exceeded expectations.
However, one year on and health insurance experts at www.totalhealthcover.ie are concerned that, although it was successful in bringing thousands of people into the private health insurance system, the quality of plans that many of these new entrants hold is wholly insufficient and will prove of little value in the event of a claim.
Dermot Goode explains: “Over 100,000 consumers joined the private health insurance system last March/April to beat this LCR deadline and so their renewal dates are upon us now. We estimate that about half of these policy holders purchased entry-level base plans in an effort to just beat the age loading as cheaply as possible. Many of these people in their haste to join in the last two weeks of the campaign, to get in before the deadline, did not have adequate time to evaluate the value of the plan selected. We are calling on these people to take that time now before they simply renew again for another year.”
Totalhealthcover.ie contend that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to access private treatment in public hospitals due increased waiting lists and many elective surgeries now being cancelled at short notice when the A&E backlog needs to be cleared. Therefore, the value of health insurance plans that only give access to public hospitals must be questioned.
Totalhealthcover.ie say that although there are no claims statistics available for this group of joiners in terms of whether they claimed anything or not or the last year, the reality is that there are so many exclusions on these entry level plans, their opportunity to claim will be limited.