Have you reviewed your health insurance?

December 14, 2022

Statistics from the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) show that over 2.4 million people in Ireland have private health insurance and over 50% of them will renew in the next four months. If you are one of them, have you reviewed your cover recently? If your health insurance renewal date is approaching, it’s a good idea to review your insurance. Here are a few things you should think about when reviewing your health insurance:

Review your level of cover

Take time to review what cover you have as it may not suit your current needs. You may have gone through some changes in your life or be planning future changes. For example, you may be planning on having a child in the future and therefore need maternity cover. Whatever your situation, you should take time to think about what your needs are, even if you are looking for a better deal. The HIA website lets you compare the cost of plans from different insurers for similar benefits.

Can you make savings?

Between the notification date and the renewal date you have time to look at ways to save money. You might be able to make savings by

  • putting your children on a different plan to you
  • paying a bigger excess on any claim that you make
  • getting quotes from other insurers
  • downgrading your cover

You can also ask your provider for an equivalent corporate plan that offers similar benefits to your existing one. These are not marketed to the public but insurance companies must offer them to you if you request them.

Downgrading your policy

If you decide to downgrade, weigh up if the savings are worth the loss in cover. Remember that if you decide to upgrade your cover again in the future, waiting periods of up to five years can apply, depending on your age. During the waiting period, you may not be able to make a claim for additional benefits on your new plan. This depends on your insurer, so make sure you check before you decrease your cover. Learn more about waiting periods from the HIA.

Planning on switching?

If you are switching there are a number of things to consider:

  • Charges for switching during the term of your policy
    If you decide to switch health insurance provider during the term of your policy you may be charged. This is because you are cancelling the contract. The amount charged depends on your insurer so always check the terms and conditions before you switch.
  • Waiting periods for any extra benefits
    If you switch, your new insurer may impose waiting periods for any extra benefits available on your new plan.
  • Upfront payment for the government health insurance levy
    Your old insurer may insist on you paying the government health insurance levy upfront if you switch. The HIA has more information on the switching policy of individual providers.
  • Cancelling your direct debit
    If you are switching to a different provider, you will need to cancel the direct debit to your old insurer. When switching be sure to read through your new policy documents carefully and if you have any questions on your cover, contact your provider. If you change your mind after switching, all insurers must give you a 14-day cooling-off period from the start of the contract. During this time, you may cancel and get a full refund.
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