Vhi, Ireland’s largest health insurer, has announced it will waive an average of 50% of customers premiums over the next three months.
Outlining a detailed response to the range of issues and challenges facing customers as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 public health crisis the insurer also revealed it will be waiving 30% of the premium for customers with Vhi Dental Insurance for the same period.
The insurer said the purpose of this response was to reassure customers that Vhi will stand by their customers as Covid-19 continues to impact the country.
The insurer also said it had already signalled its support for the Government’s effort to mobilise a single national response to fight Covid-19 and said they acknowledged that the historic deal between the Private Hospital’s Association (PHA) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) was the right decision at the right time.
In recognition of this it said all Vhi private health insurance customers will see premium waived by an average of 50% over the next 3 months according to their plans. The waiver period will be for an initial three months (mid May 2020 to mid August 2020) and suggested if there is an extension or curtailment to the partnership agreement between the PHA and the HSE, this waiver will be adjusted accordingly.
Declan Moran, Acting Chief Executive said Vhi has an important role to play in these uncertain times.
"Our promise to our customers is that we will be there for them during these difficult days. We are fully supportive of the government’s efforts to have a single united response to fight this crisis and Vhi is committed to playing its part.”
He continued “We have put in place a mechanism that addresses the changed manner in which some services can be delivered. We are doing this in as transparent and fair a manner as possible across our different customer groups.
"As a direct response to the partnership agreement outlined by Government between the PHA and the HSE, Vhi is waiving a percentage of premiums for the duration of the agreement and making a further promise that there will be additional return of value to customers this year if claims levels are lower than our current projections.”
Announcing details of the plan this afternoon Vhi said its customers will continue to have healthcare needs above and beyond Covid-19, and Vhi will continue to support those needs and will continue to pay claims for any treatments that fall outside the private hospital agreement.
This will include the provision of cover for private care in public hospitals, psychiatric inpatient and day care treatment, maternity care and treatment for addiction.
IT said for those hospitals who are included in the agreement Vhi will cover the public hospital charge i.e. €80 a day up to a maximum of 10 days.
In addition, Vhi said it is extending day-to-day benefits to include telephone or online consultations with GP’s, Clinical Psychologists, Physiotherapists, Dieticians, and Practice Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech & Language Therapists and EAP consultations.
Vhi’s clinical services Vhi SwiftCare, Vhi Paediatric Clinic and Vhi Hospital@Home are open and continue to provide services to customers daily. They have moved to an appointment only basis enhancing patient and staff safety. Support benefit and services including Online GP, Nurseline 24/7 and Midwife Support Services remain in operation.
The insurer said that while the primary focus now is the health impact of the pandemic, clearly there is a massive economic impact also – both here in Ireland and across the globe.
As a result Vhi said it is introducing a series of measures for customers who find themselves in difficult financial circumstances as a direct result of Covid-19 and suggested that from conversations with customers they recognised that a priority for most is to retain their health insuranceand said as a result they have developed a range of appropriate supports to offer customers based on their specific individual circumstances.
Declan Moran, Acting Chief Executive, Vhi concluded by saying customers, like everyone in the country, are under stress and duress at this time, concerned about family and loved ones.
"Where concerns are compounded by financial worries we are seeking to put measures in place to help alleviate those concerns during these particularly tough days. We have established a specialist team of advisers to handle these cases.”