There are a number of myths surrounding health insurance in Ireland! We want to clear up some of the most common misconceptions people have around private medical insurance. Have a read and call us if you need to chat through them.

 “…They won’t insure me because I’ve a pre-existing condition”

The area which causes the most confusion for Irish consumers is around the effects of pre-existing conditions on your health insurance. Health insurance in Ireland is unique in many ways and differs substantially from other types of insurance products as it is not a ‘risk-rated’ product. This means that an insurer cannot increase your annual premium if you have a pre-existing medical condition, nor can a provider refuse to insure you if you have a high number of claims in a policy year. As long as you have served your initial waiting periods (26 weeks for new conditions and 5 years for pre-existing conditions), you will not have to re-serve these waiting periods if you change your plan or Insurer at renewal. If you increase your cover in respect of a pre-existing condition your new insurer/plan will cover you up to the level of cover you enjoyed under your previous plan immediately, you will need to wait a period of 2 years before the higher level of cover kicks in for pre-existing conditions on your new plan. For new conditions the higher level of cover will kick in immediately after you upgrade.

“…I’m too old, no insurer will take me on”

This is another common misconception. Those that have been insured with the same provider for a number of years are anxious about switching. The principle of Open Enrollment means that an insurer cannot refuse to insure you due to your age. If you are 90 years old and have had continuous cover for the last 5 years you are free to switch providers/plans at your renewal and you will be offered the same premium as someone in their late twenties or early thirties.     

“…I don’t qualify for a corporate plan”

There are currently over 330 health insurance plans available on the market, searching through them to find the right plan to match your needs can present a major headache. Corporate plans often carry extra benefits which may not be available on consumer plans. These can include money back on visits to everyday medical practitioners and to private A&E centres like Swiftcare & Affidea as well as extra maternity benefits and infertility treatments. ‘Corporate plans’ are often developed for large companies. However, any consumer can access these plans and they often represent much better value for money. Some examples of strong corporate plans at the minute include PMI 36 13 (VHI Healthcare), 4D Health 2 (Irish Life Health), Simply Connect Plus (Laya Healthcare).

“…I’m already on a corporate plan so it’s the best plan for me”

As previously mentioned there are 330 plans available on the market. These plans have a short lifecycle. If you’ve been on the same plan for over two years there is a chance you are overpaying for cover, even if you are on a ‘corporate plan.’ You should review your cover every year at renewal to guarantee the plan still meets your needs and that you’re on the most modern corporate plan available.        

“…My premium has stayed the same as last year, I don’t need to review my cover”

While you may notice that your health insurance premium hasn’t taken the same jump as in previous years, it remains important to shop around every year at your renewal. There are new plans launched by providers every few months which may represent better value than your current plan. Always err on the side of caution, one ten minute phone call with a health insurance expert can save you money or get you more comprehensive benefits for the same premium. More importantly, it may help to put your mind at ease! 

Cornmarket's simple Health Insurance Comparison Service takes the pain out of finding the right health cover. Our team of experts offer impartial advice across hundreds of health insurance plans, from all three insurers – Irish Life Health, Laya Healthcare and VHI Healthcare. Call us today on (01) 420 0999 to find out more.


Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A member of the Irish Life Group Ltd. which is part of the Great-West Lifeco Group of companies. Irish Life Health dac is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Vhi Healthcare DAC trading as Vhi Healthcare is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Laya Healthcare Limited, trading as Laya Healthcare and Laya Life, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Telephone calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.