A quarter of Irish adults aged over 50 are “too afraid” to switch health insurance provider, despite significant savings to be made

 - Less than 20% of Irish adults have changed their health insurance provider in the last 2 years

 - Almost three quarters of people (73%) are unaware of shortfalls that apply on their current health insurance schemes

15th February 2019: One in four (25%) Irish adults aged 50 years and over admit to being “too afraid” to switch health insurer, despite advice given by leading independent experts to shop around and benefit from significant savings.

The research, carried out Empathy Research on behalf of laya healthcare, reveals that a fear of losing health benefits and cover is the reason why a quarter (25%) of older people aged 50 years+ won’t switch provider, with more than one in ten (14%) concerned about waiting periods and almost one in five (17%) saying it was too difficult to compare plans between providers.

The research also reveals a worrying lack of awareness among older people around potential shortfalls for orthopaedic procedures on their policy. One in two (50%) of those aged 65 years don’t know if a shortfall applies on their current health plan for hip and knee replacements. Depending on their provider and policy, a standard shortfall on these procedures could mean a co-payment of at least €2,000. Laya healthcare is the only insurance provider that has no shortfalls for orthopaedic procedures.

When choosing a provider, health insurance benefits are more important than cost for Irish consumers with one in three saying the benefits that come with a policy are the No.1 reason when making a final decision on who to take out cover with. This is most pronounced among those aged over 50 years, with four in ten (42%) saying the benefits that come with their insurance scheme are more important than cost.

Commenting on the research findings, Kevin Kent, Head of Marketing at laya healthcare, said: “Ireland’s health insurance market is extremely competitive today, and there’s significant value in people of all ages picking up the phone and shopping around.”

“It’s a shame that fear is stopping a significant number of people from unlocking better value and benefits from their health insurance cover.  A common worry for people when switching is waiting periods or pre-existing illnesses. However, whether you’re buying for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to be reassured that if you’ve served the necessary waiting period with any insurer without a break of 13 weeks and the level of cover was the same or higher than that of your new policy, then you will be covered immediately.

Key research findings

  • The switching market is slowing, with less than one in five Irish adults (17%) saying they’ve changed health insurance providers in the last two years
  • The majority of people (73%) with health insurance are unaware of potential shortfalls on their cover for orthopaedic procedures
  • Almost a quarter of people (23%) believe that there is no significant cost savings between providers, despite ongoing advice from health insurance experts to advise otherwise
  • One in five Irish people (22%) plan to take out health insurance for the first time in 2019


Case Study:  Adrienne Stewart (62), retired housewife from Meath

Adrienne Stewart (62) and her husband Derek (70) saved €535 when they switched their health insurance to laya recently. Both retired, they admit to being afraid to switch for the past 11 years for fear of losing cover or benefits. They switched from VHI Plan B (now known as Health Plus Access) to Complete Simplicity with laya healthcare, making real savings and improving their level of cover for orthopaedic and ophthalmic procedures which they felt were important areas to cover at their age.

“I am so happy I went to the bother to switch. We knew that if we were on the same plan for a long time, we were likely paying too much and that proved to be the case”, Adrienne explained.

*The members received gratuity for their time in producing this case study.



For more information contact:

Ciarán Curran |H+A Marketing + PR|ccurran@hamarketingpr.ie | 083 1061193

Research Methodology

*Research carried out by Empathy Research among 1,000 adults aged 18+ between 11th January 2019 – 18th January 2019.


Notes to Editor:

About laya healthcare

Laya healthcare members can avail of some of the most innovative health insurance benefits and services in the Irish health insurance market along with life insurance (layalife.ie) and travel insurance (layatravelinsurance.ie). Its brand promise, Looking After You Always, represents laya healthcare’s member-centric approach, which is fundamental to its vision and values.


Laya healthcare is proudly part of AIG, one of the leading global insurance organisations in the world. Building on 100 of experience AIG now serves customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. With their experienced team and innovative insurance solutions, along with AIG’s financial backing, global expertise and long-term commitment to Ireland, laya healthcare expect to go from strength to strength, widening their offering and bringing value and innovation to Ireland’s insurance market.


Health insurance provided by Elips Insurance Ltd (Inc. Liechtenstein) trading as Laya Healthcare. Laya Healthcare Ltd trading as Laya Healthcare and Laya Life is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Life insurance provided by IptiQ Life SA.(Inc. Luxembourg). Laya Healthcare Limited trading as Laya Life and Laya Healthcare is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Travel insurance is provided by AIG Europe Limited.