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Many VHI customers facing policy switch as plans retired


Thousands of VHI policy holders are facing into having to choose new policies in the months ahead, as the insurer plans to retire a number of its most popular plans.

In what has been described as a surprise move, VHI is ending a range of plans, including Health Plus Extra (old Plan B Options), Health Plus Access (old Plan B), Health Plus Excess (old Plan B Excess) and also their Health Access scheme.

“These plans will no longer be available to new members or renewals from 1st May,” said Dermot Goode of Totalhealthcover.ie.

“This change will impact thousands of VHI members who remained on these plans over the years. In particular, this will be of concern to older members who renewed on these plans to retain full cover for major orthopedic and ophthalmic procedures.”

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

Mr Goode said many of the plans have been on the market for up to three decades and offer good cover.

But in the last year policyholders have seen the prices rise significantly.

“The good news is that there are similar alternatives available from VHI such as their Advanced Care product range but members need to be careful that they aren’t transferred to more expensive options,” Mr Goode said.

He added that those who need psychiatric cover up to 180 days need to be careful because the Health Plus Extra scheme will need to chose particular alternatives in order to retain the benefit.

“Before opting for the VHI alternatives, we would urge all these VHI members to fully review their options across the market as there may be other plans that could deliver equivalent cover at a much lower cost,” he said.

Mr Goode also pointed out that while there are a range of corporate plans available from VHI are priced well below the plans being retired, VHI members need to be careful as some don’t offer the same level of benefits in areas including orthopedic and ophthalmic surgery, psychiatric cover and cardiology.

“Many VHI members affected by these plan retirements may be inclined to just accept the alternative offered by VHI,” he said.

“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.”

“They may be shocked to find they can source equivalent cover at a lower cost. For those fearful of change, seek help from a trusted friend or family member or engage a qualified broker to do this review work for you.”


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