Thinking about buying Health Insurance

March 10, 2015

New rules relating to health insurance providers are to be introduced from 1 May 2015. This means that if you are aged 35 or over and are buying a private health insurance policy for the first time you will be charged an extra 2% (also known as a ‘loading’ fee) on top of your premium. This 2% fee is added for every year you are aged over 34. For example, if you take out a private health insurance policy for the first time at age 40 you will pay an additional 12% on your annual premium every year.

Credit will be provided to you if you previously had health insurance for a period of time or if you had to cancel your cover due to unemployment since the economic downturn in 2008. However, you will need proof of cover which you can get from your previous provider. If you have any questions in relation to the new rules visit the Q&A section of the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) website.

Buying a health insurance policy?

If you do decide to take out health insurance, there are a few things you need to think about to make sure you get the right cover, such as:

  • The level and type of cover you are looking for.
  • If you are looking for basic cover or you’re prepared to pay more for treatment in a private hospital.
  • Will you have to pay any excess in the event you have to make a claim? This is the first part of any claim that you must pay yourself. For example, if the excess on your policy is €200 and you make a claim for €1,300, you will only receive €1,100 from your insurer if your claim is successful.
  • Which cover is best suited to your stage of life? If you plan on having a family you may be interested in maternity benefits. Some packages are better suited to families than others.

Always be aware of the conditions of your cover and any restrictions that apply before you sign up to a policy. Check out the cost comparison on the Health Insurance Authority website to view and compare the benefits of all private health insurance plans available in the Irish health insurance market.

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