VHI warns rising cost of claims could threaten the private system

Insurer says we may need to move patients from acute hospitals

VHI, life insurance, VHI Life, health, insurer, John O'Dwyer

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The country's largest health insurer has warned that the rising cost of claims is threatening the private system.

The VHI expects almost €3.5bn to be paid out in the next nine years - which is an 80% increase.

The state-owned insurer claims our aging population is likely to lead to extra payouts as chronic diseases rise.

It is also warning that many people are downgrading their cover paying less money for their policies.

The VHI says we need to shift as many patients as possible from acute facilities like hospitals to community care settings.

It comes as Social Justice Ireland has warned that by 2031, there will be an increase of 86.4% in those aged 65 and over.

Of these, 136,000 will be aged 85 or over - an increase of 132.8%.

"This level of population ageing will be associated with higher levels of disability and long-term ill-health and now is the time for planning and investment", said Dr Seán Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland.

The group said it is "seriously concerned" that adequate funding is not being provided to address the ageing of the population that will result in a steady increase in older people and people with disabilities accessing services.