On Wednesday last, we attended an Employee Healthcare Information and Benefits Seminar at Whitfield Clinic and were amazed to learn about the number of deals and policies now available.
Believe it or not, there are now a massive 400 policies out there to choose from, across a wide and varied price range.
There are four main insurance companies, with the traditional VHI being the largest. The other three major companies in the Irish market Others are Aviva, Glo and Laya – this follows the sale of Quinn insurance to Laya.
Insurance companies, as a matter of course, send out notifications of renewal to customers, but in many cases, the quoted policy price will have risen.
However, in order to attract new business, these companies often have to create a better value product out there that will have the same cover as a more expensive policy.
Bearing all of this in mind, it’s little wonder that a significant proportion of the public seek advice when it comes to what policy is most suitable to their respective requirements.
Local insurance brokers – one cannot underestimate the benefits of face to face meetings on such matters – are a font of knowledge in this area given that it’s a sector they understand better than most.
As Dermot Goode, the guest speaker at last Wednesday’s event in Whitfield put it, “there are savings to be made, but to make them requires effort and a fair degree of personal investigation”.
There is also a Government-backed website, www.hia.ie, which is worth consulting, detailing all of the various products available but this site may prove rather complex to navigate.
It is always best to determine what cover, minimum or otherwise, you, a spouse and your children may require, and if there’s some heavy lifting involved to work that, in due course, that may well, literally, prove its worth to you or a loved one.
Last Wednesday’s seminar also gave those in attendance a chance to learn more about new health cash plan.
For example, for €600 (approximately) you can gain cover for payments to your GP, along with dental, physio and some consultant costs which aren’t necessarily covered by many health insurance policies.
We also recently spoke with a doctor based in Northern Ireland who suggested that people in the Republic sometimes may not get full value on health insurance as there is an entitlement to public health care.
However, waiting lists for consultants and operations remains a big issue (a matter again discussed by John Halligan and Leo Varadkar in the Dáil last week).
After all, being in a long queue when in considerable pain is clearly a bad option. However, as RTE News revealed last week, if you can get a GP or consultant referral for treatment, then you can secure treatment outside of the Republic if there is no chance of an appointment here, which seems like a sound and logical option.
While it may be difficult to gain a referral in such instances, getting the word out there about this no option is not bad thing at all, so credit to RTE for raising this into the public consciousness.
If anything, this underlined the importance of investigating all elements of health cover: do your homework.