The Health Insurance Authority (HIA) recently published the findings of a national survey of the private health insurance market in Ireland (the “Survey”) which currently consists of approximately 2.14 million customers.  The Survey includes an analysis of the effects of the economic environment on the attitudes and behaviour of consumers of private health insurance.

The main findings of the Survey include as follows:

  • 43% of the Irish population currently have private health insurance. This is down from 46% in 2010.  The overwhelming reason for no longer having private health cover is the added expense/premiums being too high/can no longer afford it;
  • Health insurance is the second most valued employee benefit after a pension and the percentage of people who believe that private health insurance is the most important employment benefit has risen from 18% in 2010 to 29% in 2012.  For people between the age of 18 to 34 years, it is the most valued employee benefit, ahead of a pension, company car or flexible working arrangements;
  • The majority of people surveyed view health insurance as a means to access healthcare services quicker and consider that health insurance is a necessity rather than a luxury; and
  • 23% of consumers have switched insurance provider at some point.  This is up from 16% in 2010.

Please click here to read the full text of the Survey.