A recent survey of Health Insurance in Ireland , carried out on behalf of the Health Insurance Authority , produced some interesting statistics.
Ireland is unique among European countries in that, unlike them, we don’t have universal access to healthcare. This is one of the reasons why health insurance is so popular in Ireland.
A total of 2000 people were surveyed in 2021 – both with and without private health insurance .
Health Insurance Coverage
- 53% of the population of Ireland is covered by Private Health Insurance (PHI) .
- This has risen from 40% in 2013
- 32% of those with PHI have health insurance as part of a work scheme.
- VHI is the biggest Health Insurance provider – covering 45% of policy holders.
- Laya has 26% of the PHI market
- Irish Life Health cover 23% of policyholders
Health Insurance Average Cost
The survey found that the perceived annual cost of a policy has decreased slightly compared to 2019. The average price paid in 2021 was €1,778 a year compared to €2,059 in 2019. (These aren’t actual prices – just what people told the survey.) This figure will include families and couples and is not based on the price for a single adult.
Interestingly – the people in the survey who didn’t have health insurance – thought (on average) that the cost of Health Insurance would be €1073 a year.
63% of people with insurance said they were paying more than €1000 a year.
87% of people with insurance aged 55+ said they were paying more than €1000 a year.
Only 42% of people with health insurance thought it was good value for money .
Only 10% of people without health insurance thought it was good value for money.
Only 27% of the overall population see health insurance as good value for
Switching Health Insurance Provider
61% of people have never switched Health Insurance provider.
(4% said they didn’t know !)
Of the 35% who switched – 56% did it because the new provider was cheaper.
Ending Health Insurance
36% of the people surveyed that didn’t have health insurance – previously had it. Of those that had ceased their PHI – 42% said the main reason was the high prices.
Of the people who don’t have PHI – 59% said the main reason was the high cost.
Making Claims on Health Insurance
A survey in 2017 found that 38% of people with health insurance in Ireland had never made a claim.
Do You Really Need Health Insurance?
If you are unfortunate enough to have a heart attack or stroke, are involved in a car accident or have to be rushed into an emergency department suffering from some other ailment then health insurance is of little use. You will be taken to the nearest public hospital and treated in the public system at no cost (or at least at very little.).
However, the reality is that people with health insurance in Ireland can get access to consultants more quickly – even consultants working out of public hospitals if they are allowed see patients privately. They also get private and semi-private rooms in public hospitals and can avail of treatment in private hospitals, which significantly reduces waiting times for many procedures – both elective and otherwise.
In Ireland – Private Health Insurers drive many consumers into public hospitals for treatment . This has created inequity for public patients, but also for private patients who are paying twice to receive the same service . The logical conclusion is that if equity is to be achieved within the public health system, maybe the HSE should stop providing all private healthcare services and concentrate its services to public health.
Taxes paid for 77% of health expenditures in 2013. Yet in our primarily tax-funded health system, people with private health insurance have quicker access to healthcare compared to fellow taxpayers without insurance.
Is this fair ? We don’t think it is.
Profits of Health Insurance Companies
Pre-tax profits at the country’s second-largest health insurance provider, Laya Healthcare lsurged by 30 per cent to €28.85 million in 2021.
In 2021, VHI achieved a net surplus of €65.3 million from consolidated business activities.
Irish Life Health made a profit of €30.9 million in 2021