Switching Health Insurance from Quinn

The Irish Financial Regulator has placed Quinn Insurance  into provisional administration and is expected to push for this  administration to become indefinite at a hearing on 12 April.

The Regulator has been concerned about the  Quinn Group since December 2009  when Quinn Insurance said the group was seeking a waiver from commitments to pay back certain debts by the end of last year. Sean Quinn was a major shareholder in Anglo Irish Bank – which is now in the hands of the state and making massive losses.

Quinn Insurance is Ireland’s second biggest insurer –   Quinn Insurance has around 23 per cent of the health insurance market in Ireland – they took over BUPA’s Irish operation  when BUPA pulled out.
Although the regulator has said that Quinn-Healthcare  customers do not need to do anything –  many of them will be looking into switching insurers to avoid any possible problems.
There are only 2 alternatives to Quinn for health insurance in Ireland – AVIVA and VHI.
You can transfer from one health insurer to another at any time – you do not have to wait for a renewal noice . If you switch from Quinn to another health insurance company you  are entitled to a full refund for any period of insurance that you have not used.  Here is a letter you can use to inform Quinn Insurance that you wish to cancel your Policy. It makes sense to take out any new policy before you cancel your old one – it is better to have a couple of days overlap than a few days with no cover at all.

Aviva have a promotional rewards package on offer for anyone who switches to them before April 15th 2010. This promotion was announced befor the problems with Quinn. You can get vouchers for things such as free cinema tickets, a free round of golf, free beauty treatment and lots more.

When you switch health insurance provider – if the new policy offers the same benefits (or a lower level) you will not have to serve any extra waiting period before claiming.
If your new policy has higher benefits the new company can insist on a waiting period before you are eligible for these extra benefits.

We did a quick price comparison of some similar health insurance packages for a family of 2 adults, 2 children & 1 student.

Quinn Insurance Essential   – cost €1620
Aviva Level 1 Hospital  €1685
VHI Plan A  – cost  €1789.05

There are minor differences in all the health insurance packages – so exact comparisons are not easy. Excess payments are one of the big differences – this is the amount you have to pay towards any claim in a year. In the 3 examples above – the lowest excess was from Aviva at €250 per family. With Quinn – the excess was  €470 and with VHI it was €250 per person (a possible €1250 in the example family) . Higher excess levels will  mean you are less likely to reach the threshold where cover kicks in on the smaller items like Physio or GP visits.
In the above comparison – ony Aviva would cover the full cost of a private room in a public hospital. Quinn would want €55 per night from you and VHI would not cover the full cost either.