There is no price control in health insurance. An insurer decides on the premium but it cannot vary the premium by age, except in the case of children/students. If you are unhappy with the premium you are paying, you may switch plans or insurers at your renewal date. In some cases insurers allow policy holders to switch contracts during the 12 month contract term.
Private health insurance premiums are subject to income tax relief at source. The tax relief (of 20% premium) has been restricted to €1,000 gross premium in respect of adults and to €500 gross premium for children and full-time dependent students aged 18 - 21. This applies to policies commencing or renewing on or after 1 May 2015.
You can claim tax relief on the cost of certain qualifying medical expenses incurred by you, your spouse or your dependants at the standard tax rate of 20% as at 1st January 2014. Those not subject to taxation will not be able to claim this relief. You should note, however, that you cannot claim relief in respect of sums already received or due to be received from any public or local authority (e.g. a health board), a private health insurance policy or any other source (e.g. compensation). For example, your health insurance policy gives you €20 for each doctor's visit. However the visit actually costs €50. You can then claim tax relief on the €30 which wasn't covered by your health insurer. You must keep copies of all your receipts for 6 years to avail of this tax relief. Further details of these reliefs, including details of medical expenses that qualify for tax relief, are available from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners (Lo-call 1890 60 50 90 and www.revenue.ie).
The Irish state supports the community rated system by providing age related health credits in respect of older people and less healthy people, to help meet the expected higher cost of health insurance for this group. As a result, all people pay the same premiums net of these tax credits for their health insurance. These tax credits are funded by a health insurance levy paid by health insurers. From 1 April 2017 this levy is up to €444 for each adult covered by the insurer and up to €148 for each child. The tax credits and levy are administered by the health insurance companies and the Risk Equalisation Fund.
An insurer can offer up to a 10% group discount on any plan to a group of persons at the insurer's discretion. Some of the insurers automatically include this discount in the prices quoted for a particular plan. Where an insurer has decided to automatically include this discount in a plan's premium, it will be reflected in the HIA's comparison tool. Currently, insurers do not provide discounts to individuals on company plans, so the prices quoted on our website for company plans do not include it.
Laya Healthcare does not provide group discounts to individuals, except during special promotional periods. Vhi automatically include group discounts on their individual plan premiums, except for their One Scheme. Irish Life Health automatically apply the group discount to a large number of their plans.
Young adult rates may be offered to persons aged 18-25. You do not need to be a student. Where an insurer chooses to apply young adult rates to a plan, they must do it for all age ranges from 18-25.