May 30, 2024

Stream Health Care

It Looks Good On You

Thousands affected as VHI phases out popular health insurance plans to ‘simplify’ offerings

2 min read

The plans removed are some of the most popular options taken out by consumers.

Some of the people on these plans, which are variations on the old Plan B schemes, have had them continuously for 30 years.

One of the schemes being retired costs up to €3,400 a year for one adult.

VHI’s move to phase out the four leading plans would worry older members who renewed on these to retain full cover for major orthopaedic and ophthalmic procedures, said health insurance expert Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie.

“They will have no option now but to shop around for alternative cover from their next renewal date,” he said.

In a surprise move, VHI is ditching Health Plus Extra, which is the old Plan B Options.

Also going is Health Plus Access, formerly Plan B, and Health Plus Excess, which was called Plan B Excess. It also phasing out its Health Access scheme.

Health Plus Extra costs €3,400 per adult a year, while Health Plus Access is €2,574 per adult a year.

These two plans are among the top 10 most popular VHI plans, according to the Health Insurance Authority. Many people are understood to be on these plans through an employer group scheme.

“These plans will no longer be available to new members or renewals from May 1,” Mr Goode said. The scrapping of the plans would affect thousands of VHI members who remained on these plans over the years, he said.

VHI confirmed it was slimming down the number of plans it offers as it has 81 plans on the market.

“Our aim is to deliver a simplified product structure and enhanced offerings to better meet members’ needs,” it said.

“This means closing some of our older plans and moving some of our members on to different plans that better meet their healthcare needs.”

Mr Goode said VHI members affected by the plan retirements may be inclined to just accept the alternative offered by VHI.

Price rises in the Health Insurance industry have seen the growth in the number of people with insurance slow dramatically

“We would urge all members not to auto-renew on whatever is offered by VHI, but to take this opportunity to check all options across the market first,” Mr Goode said.

“They may be shocked to find they can source equivalent cover at a lower cost.”

He advised those fearful of change to seek help from a trusted friend or family member or engage a qualified broker to do this review work for them. He said there are similar alternatives available from VHI, such as their Advanced Care product range.

But members need to be careful that they are not transferred to more expensive options.

Mr Goode said those on Health Plus Extra, which costs €3,400 a year per adult, could consider the VHI Advanced Care Extra scheme at €3,327. However, the out-patient cover is not as generous. They would probably be offered the Advanced Care Extra Day-to-Day scheme, but this would increase their cost further to €3,543 per adult, he said.

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