Blog Homepage > Lifetime Community Rating - One year on
Lifetime Community Rating (LCR) came into effect from 1st May 2015. Prior to this, health insurance premiums were based on community rating i.e. regardless of age, health, gender etc, everyone paid the same premium. The main change from 1st May 2015 is that age became a factor in calculating premiums for those over age 34.
What could this mean for you?
If you have not taken out health insurance before your 35th birthday, then a 2% loading may apply for every year after age 35 you delay in taking out cover, up to a maximum loading of 70%. This means a 37 year old taking out a new policy could pay a 6% loading every year, a 40 year old could face a 12% loading etc
There are 3 categories of people who are affected by LCR:
Let’s look at these briefly to see how they are affected
Some people in category 1 may have taken out a health insurance plan in 2015 to avoid the loading. These policyholders should shop around and revisit their plans as in a lot of cases; they contain very limited cover. Whilst these people have now beaten the loading, the next priority should be to ensure they are covered for hospitals that are important to them, that they understand the upgrade rule, that they are aware of the excesses and limitations within their policy etc.
Did you know if you upgrade your cover there is a 2 year waiting period before you can avail of the increased benefits for existing illnesses?
This is something people may overlook and which may affect them in the event of a claim.
Others in category one include those that already had health cover and these people should still shop around each year to ensure that they avail of the better pricing of new plans whilst maintaining the benefits that are important to them.
Those in category 2 are people approaching their 35th birthday who can still avoid the loading by taking out a plan prior to their 35th birthday. The longer a person delays in taking out health insurance the more prohibitive it becomes due to the increased loading each year. So act now and talk to one of our health insurance experts so that we can find the cover that’s right for you.
Those in category 3 are people who are over 35 years of age, with no health cover in place. For people in this category, it may be possible to reduce the loading if they had previous cover either on their own policy or as a dependent adult on a parent’s plan, if they had previous cover possibly held through an employer or if they had periods of unemployment from 1st January 2008.
If not, it is still no harm to see what could be achieved within the available budget you have. There are some very reasonable plans that may offer a solution.
What are Insurers doing?
As we come around to the first anniversary of LCR, many insurers have maintained the price on the basic plans at 2015 premiums whilst a variety of new options are also available. There are also some recent price reductions from some insurers with offers on child prices providing opportunities to save money.
It pays to change
The old saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ doesn’t apply to getting the best value on your health insurance. If you have never reviewed your insurance plan, the likelihood is that you are paying too much. If you have had the same plan for even two years, you may be paying too much. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to check the market at every renewal to avail of the best rates and benefits.
Here to help you
The good news is that Cornmarket, Ireland’s largest health insurance broker, is here to help you with our Free Health Insurance Comparison Service. In one brief phone call we establish what is important to you. If your existing cover is fine, no change will be recommended. In many cases, we may even be able to identify better cover for you from your existing provider. In fact, you can rest assured that you will not get a cheaper quote for the same policy if you contact your insurance company directly!
So what do you need to do?