How to save on your health insurance

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Save money on your health insurance

Review your cover each year for the best savings.  There are hundreds of health insurance plans on the market. So trawling through that haystack, looking for the best value cover for you and family, can be confusing and time-consuming. However if you want peace of mind, it needs to be done. Next time you get a renewal notice from your current provider, consider the points below. You’ll save cash – and time in the haystack!

1. Split your cover

You don’t always need to insure all the family on the same health plan. Depending on your/your family’s life stage, some things are more important than others. For example, if your partner pays yearly GP and consultant fees, it’s probably prudent to cover this on their plan, but maybe not yours. Members can be insured on different plans, on the same policy. So pick your plan based on individuals’ needs, not the family as a whole.

2. Take on an excess

Recently insurers have developed plans with increasingly higher excess. This allows members to save on their premium, by taking on higher risk (in the form of this excess). The excess is the first part of the bill you’re liable for. If your existing policy has no excess, try to add a small excess (between €50 - €150) per private hospital admission and you could enjoy big savings. VHI, Laya Healthcare and Irish Life Health each provide policies with excesses up to €500, for in-patient private hospital admissions.

3. Benefit from children’s offers

Children don’t usually need the same level of cover as adults, because specialist children’s hospitals like Crumlin and Temple Street are public hospitals. A young child won’t get treated in hi-tech hospitals like Blackrock and Mater Private,so providers often offer half-price on covering children, or similar discounts. This is normally well advertised – but get in touch with us to find the best price and plan for you.

4. Compare insurance costs against everyday medical expenses

Being able to claim on the GP, physio, dentist and specialist consultant fees might seem a great idea, but is it the smartest decision? So work out the maths. Calculate what you can claim, versus the extra cost of your premium. A good method (and rule of thumb) is if you make four or more visits per year to the medical experts above, it’s worth insuring for them.

5. Check the corporate equivalent of your current plan

‘Corporate’ plans are health insurance policies not directly offered to the public, often with unusual names such as VHI’s PMI 41 15 or Irish Life Health’s Health Plan 16.1. They are designed for large companies, but actually anyone is free to use them. Corporate plans usually offer much better value than normal consumer policies, and can provide stronger cover for private and hi-tech hospitals. They can also include very good maternity benefits, and some provide fertility treatments like IVF, IUI or ICSI.

6. Benefit from ‘young adult’ rates

‘Student’ health insurance rates have been replaced by ‘young adult’ rates. So if you’re 18 – 25 (inclusive), or have a dependent at that age, make sure your plan has a ‘young adult discount’. Not all policies include this, so give us a call to check you have got the best value plan for young adults.

7. Don’t pay for unnecessary cover

Health insurance covers a huge range of benefits however some of it may not be important to you. For example, if you live in Cork or Galway, access to Dublin hospitals might not be needed and while maternity cover is mandatory on all contracts (it cannot be removed), if it’s not a priority, go for a policy with lower (and cheaper) maternity benefits. Similarly if you haven’t seen a GP in 5 years, why pay for this cover in your premium?