Private health insurers paid combined €2.24bn in claims in 2019

The total combined claims paid by the three main health insurers Vhi, Laya and Irish Life Health was €2.24bn in 2019 .

The private health insurance market continued to rise in 2019 but the impact of Covid-19 is yet to be quantified. Overall the market increased by 2.5 per cent last year to €2.27m.

According to the The Health Insurance Authority's (HIA) annual report, 46 per cent of the population have some form of health insurance cover Premium income in 2019 was €2.72bn,

The HIA also established a special Committee to consider the impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic may have on the health insurance market and on the Risk Equalisation Fund

According to the report, the number of insured people has increased year on year since 2014, reflecting market stability and Ireland’s growing economy.

However, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook for the health insurance sector in Ireland and for consumers is uncertain.

Don Gallagher, HIA CEO, commenting on the publication of the HIA Annual Report said: "The Health Insurance market remained relatively stable over the course of 2019. 46 per cent of the population have some form of health insurance cover, making it the largest non-life insurance market in Ireland.

"Numbers insured in December 2019 were 2.5 per cent higher than 12 months previously, with demand rising against the backdrop of a growing economy."

Impact of Covid-19

Market share did not change in 2019 with Vhi Healthcare’s market share at 50 per cent, Laya Healthcare at 26 per cent market share and Irish Life Health at 20 per cent at end of December 2019.

Commenting on the impact of Covid-19 on the private Health Insurance Market, Mr Gallagher said: “As yet, we are uncertain of the impact Covid-19 may have on the market.

The combination of the health shock and economic shock as a result of Covid-19 could potentially result in people cancelling their health insurance for a variety of reasons in the short to medium term.

The report also found insurers have remained pro-active in adjusting individual product benefits and prices and adding new services and features so that the complexity of the market for consumers remains high.

The main reasons cited by consumers for having health insurance were the cost of medical treatment, along with the perceived standard of, and perceived lack of access to, public services.

Most Read in Business