1. Always seek independent advice when your private health insurance renewal comes due. Insurers are product producers and sellers. So regardless of how good, bad, appropriate or cheap a plan is, the insurer's first course of action will be to sell it to you before they would direct you to another insurer. Independent experts analyse the entire market to ensure the cover you need is most appropriately identified most appropriate to your needs.
2. Do not ever accept a recommendation from the radio. Health Insurance is not a commodity purchase and if you end up with cover not appropriate to your needs the consequenses can be dire. Furthermore you have no recourse for having acted on such advice. Use a health insurance professional in a one to one setting for independent advice rather that a one size fits all approach. It may save you a fortune in the long run.
3. Cover for private accommodation in public hospitals, in most cases does not guarantee fast access to treatment. Make sure you have a plan with some access to private hospitals.
4. Check that hospitals local or important to you are not excluded from your cover. Many new plans only cover a selected network of hospitals.
5. Check that there are no shortfalls on specific treatments or procedures such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, orthopaedic,or cardiac prodedures. Many plans have these shortfalls either stated as a fixed figure, a percentage shortfall or a nightly shortfall. Just because your insurer tells you there are no orthopeadic shortfalls on your plan doesn't mean you won't fall foul of a nighly shortfall amounting to just as much depending on the hospital you are using.
6. Check that you have full cover for Day Case treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and colonoscopies in private hospitals – Day Case procedures account for 60 -70% of all health insurance claims and up to 80% of all claims in Private Hospitals. Also some insurers apply excesses to such treatments while others to not.
7. Try to ensure you have cover for direct settlement MRI and CT scan centres which are local to you. This means you won’t have to wait to get access and you don’t need to pay if they are classified as ‘Direct Settlement’ centres.
8.Try to ensure you have cover for major cardiac procedures in the centres of excellence for such care e.g. Blackrock Clinic & Mater Private.
9. High Excesses can save you money, but if possible choose plans where the high excess only applies to hospital stays, rather than Day Case procedures and this will greatly decrease the likelihood and frequency of having to pay it.
10. Consider the health insurance needs of all the family individually – consider different plans & levels of cover for each and remember, you don't have to be sick to get value from your health insurance. Many plans now offer benefits like discounts on Sports Club Memberships, money back on Health Screens and even massages.
So before you renew ensure that you are satisfied you have considered the above and at the very least there shouldn't be any suprises for you thereafter.
Irish Health Insurance