Last week Noeleen, Sheridan Insurances resident Health Insurance champion talked to us about the benefits of private health insurance and talked us through the costs of some of the most popular health insurance plans in Sheridan Insurances. We received a lot of questions about the two points mentioned by Noeleen. They were waiting periods and the LCR Loading or Lifetime Community Rating Loading. Noeleen is going to share some additional information with us today about waiting periods on Health Insurance and the LCR Loading.
The Lifetime Community Rating Loading was introduced in Ireland in 2015. It specifically came into effect from the 1st May 2015. In a nutshell, the objective of the LCR Loading is to ensure that as you get older your premiums don’t increase with your age. Here is the technical bit!!!
This loading is a 2% annual loading and applies if an Inpatient Health policy is not purchased before your 35th birthday. When you first take out health insurance, if you’re 34 years old or younger you will not have to pay any extra but if you are 37, you will be liable for 3 years @ 2% = 6% extra. If you are 54 years old, you will be liable for 20 years @ 2% = 40% extra. In simple terms, this means that if you want to remain free from a Lifetime Community Rating loading, you should purchase a health policy, even a basic one before your 35th birthday.
The maximum loading applicable is 70% and the maximum loading term is 10 years. There is an exception to this rule, that applies only if you were not resident in Ireland on 1st May 2015. However, you must purchase a health policy within 9 months of becoming a resident to avoid a Lifetime Community Rating Loading.
Now for the good news! A basic health insurance plan can be purchased for €47.42 a month and this will allow you to avail of some of the great health benefits we talked about in our last conversation with Noeleen. If you invest in a basic plan, you can always increase the cover as you need to change or as you get older. However, you should be aware of the applicable waiting periods.
This leads to the second most popular question we received. Many people have contacted us asking about waiting periods and what they are?
A waiting period is the length of time you need to have your health insurance plan before you can make a claim. There are different types of waiting periods.
- An Initial waiting period applies when you get health insurance for the first time or if your health insurance has lapsed for 13 weeks or more. When you initially purchase a health insurance policy there is a waiting period of 26 weeks for new conditions and 52 weeks for maternity.
- The second waiting period relates to a pre-existing condition waiting period. This applies to any claim you make relating to a pre-existing condition i.e. a health condition that you were aware of before you started your health insurance plan. There is a 5 year waiting period for pre-existing conditions.
- Finally, there is an upgrade waiting period which applies to any plan you invest in that has more comprehensive cover than your previous plan. If you upgrade your cover, there is a 2-year upgrade waiting period for pre-existing conditions for the higher cover.
- When you are older than 55 years of age and purchase a new health policy or upgrade to include outpatient day-to-day cover, there is a 26 week waiting period before you can claim these benefits.
This demonstrates the importance of purchasing health insurance when you are young, fit, and healthy. It is very important to understand the relevance of waiting periods to ensure that you have the right cover for you when you need it. At Sheridan Insurances, we ensure that our customers are aware of any Lifetime Community Rating Loading or waiting periods applicable to them. Having the cover when you need it most is of utmost importance to us here in Sheridan Insurances.
Some benefits are covered immediately and are not subject to any waiting periods. One of these very important benefits is Healthy Minds. This benefit is available on all Health policies and is available to all policy members. We will be discussing healthy minds in our next article.