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VHI INCREASES

The VHI is planning to increase premiums on corporate plans within weeks, The Sunday Business Post reports.

In a memo sent to companies last week, the insurer said it anticipated an increase in their plans would be sanctioned later this month.

“The increase will be effective for businesses renewing and new members joining from March 1 onwards,” the memo states.

A VHI spokeswoman confirmed the increases but said no decision had yet been made on how much extra the insurer would be charging.

Insurance brokers reported a flood of inquiries from VHI customers looking for alternatives after last week’s announcement of massive fee hikes of up to 45%. Aviva looks to be the big winner here as many people were reportedly reluctant to move to Quinn because the company remains in administration.

And lest anyone should argue that the latest hikes are anything other than excessive, The Sunday Independent documents just how much VHI charges have run ahead of inflation over the past decade.

“VHI Healthcare’s price hikes are now running at more than 12 times the rate of inflation,” writes Louise McBride. “The insurer, which announced last Thursday it was jacking up the cost of its private health insurance by as much as 45% this year, has increased its prices by 322% in total over the past 10 years, according to Aongus Loughlin, a private health insurance expert with Towers Watson.”

McBride notes Ireland’s total inflation rate for the past 10 years is in the order of 26%.

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