How to Choose the Optimum Health Insurance Provider in Ireland

Article by Daniel Smith







Companies offering voluntary private health insurance in Ireland are much similar to mobile phone service providers. It is not easy to make a simple comparison chart between one particular service and another. As per the HIA (Health Insurance Authority) comparison tool, the health insurance market in Ireland is complicated and no two insurance plans are exactly the same. Health insurance customers thinking of switching health insurers can also find it very confusing indeed.

Selecting Health Insurer – “Beating around the bush”

As of June 2009, approximately 2.27 million people have some sort of health or medical insurance, which is more than 50% of total population in Ireland.The number of different plans and the variations in degree of coverage could be is mind boggling for most of the Ireland people. They’re unsure regarding what and how a health insurance plan can cover them for maximum and optimum benefit. Thus making an accurate price comparison difficult for most Irish people while choosing a particular insurer.

This is the reason the private health insurance<strong> </strong>industry<strong> </strong>has become a dream destination for the Insurance broker. They can confuse customers with the intricate details of insurance providers and mystify them, at the end of the day the broker is left to decide the best policy for a customer.

Health Insurance Options:

As per the primary search on the HIA comparison site, there are more than 182 different health insurance plans prevailing in Ireland at present.

Mainly there are three Health insurance providers in Ireland – Voluntary Health Insurance Board (VHI), Quinn Direct and Hibernian AVIVA.

A. VHI is the largest voluntarily private health Insurance provider and a semi-state body whose board is appointed by the Minister for Health and Children. Under this plan, one may be covered for in-patients cost, Cancer Support treatment, Maternity cover, psychiatric treatment as well as out patient need like GP visit, consultant visit, A&E charge etc and more.

B. QUINN health care is the second largest one, now in the hands of the state and making massive losses due to serious financial irregularities.

C. Hibernian AVIVA is the most recent, fast growing, best alternative for Irish people, which offers <strong>cheap health insurance</strong> plan ranging from <strong>€144 per adult per year (“Day to Day Plan”). It can cover up to a maximum of </strong>€480 a year for visits to General Physicians, Dentists, Physiotherapists and other practitioners. However, it does not include hospital cover or outpatient cover, but you can get these included in a stand-alone policy or in addition to another Aviva plan.

Why Aviva seems to be the perfect fit?

To analyse the optimum choice for a <strong>family of 2 adults, 2 children & 1 student</strong> three different providers with similar health insurance plans have been considered. VHI Plan A (cost €1789.05), Quinn Insurance Essential (cost €1620) or Aviva Level 1 Hospital (€1685). There are hardly any differences within these insurance packages other than the factor “Excess payments”. It indicates the amount you need to pay towards any claim in a year. The higher the excess level, there is less chance you’d reach the threshold level, especially where the coverage is for smaller items like GP visits or physiotherapists. In the three examples cited above, Aviva is offering the lowest excess (€250 per family). Quinn with the excess of €470 and VHI with excess of €1250 for a family.

Only Aviva could cover the full cost of a private room in a public hospital. Quinn demands €55 per night and VHI would not sum up to the full cost even. Also, Aviva runs a promotional rewards package for those who switch to them before 15<sup>th</sup> April of the year. You would also get vouchers with gifts like cinema tickets, a free round of golf, beauty treatment and lots more.<strong></strong>

Summary:

Health Insurance plans and insurers availability in Ireland can be so different that anyone can get confused when purchasing a policy. It is essential you research their details and pricing to decide the optimum one. Aviva can provide you better return on investment.



About the Author

Daniel Smith is a financial analyst working with a renowned private health insurance firm in Ireland. He likes to

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