Health insurance provider Irish Life has refused to pay refunds to its customers, while its rivals continue to give money back to its members.
t comes after it emerged this week that Laya Healthcare is to refund around €240 to families.
This is the second time since the pandemic that it has returned money to members.
And VE Healthcare paid out a third discount in May, with a specific refund of €400 for families of two adults and two children.
Health insurers are making huge savings as fewer people are claiming from their health insurers for procedures in public hospitals due to COVID-related overcrowding.
But Irish Life said it uses its savings to keep premiums down.
This is despite the fact that it paid refunds in early 2020 when private hospitals and clinics were taken over by the state and were not available for people to perform procedures on their health cover.
Irish Life is the third largest company in the health insurance market with approximately 450,000 customers.
Asked if it would follow V and Laya by paying more refunds, Irish Life said: “Irish Life Health is managing a sustainable approach and savings for its customers through their prices.
“Irish Life Health is committed to returning savings to customers through its annual or monthly premiums to help make the ongoing cost of health insurance sustainable for customers.”
It said it offered discounts to its customers that amounted to between 36pc and 60pc premium in early 2020.
That means a savings of between €130 and €450, depending on the plan, over a three-month period, as calculated by Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie.
Irish Life also said it was the first and only health insurer to slash prices by 3 percent in April this year.
It emphasized that the members are benefiting from the savings.
The insurer said the latest quarterly report from the regulator, the Health Insurance Authority, shows Irish Life Health saw the lowest growth among its top five plans from 2021 to 2022.
Laya will refund €85 to each adult customer from the next month, regardless of what plan they have. Each child will get a refund of €35.
Refunds will be paid to the main member’s bank account on the policy in July, if Laya has the bank details.
If the details are not there, then from August the payment will be made by check.
LAYA stresses that with additional information on its website at www.layahealthcare.ie, there is no need to call about refunds.
In May, V refunded between €75 and €300 per adult to its members due to a drop in claims.
It said that at that time it was the third time that it had waived a part of the premium for its customers since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Goode said the three main health insurers repeatedly said refunds would be one-time but they kept coming.
“This is great news for consumers, given the background of what’s going on with prices in general,” he said.
He said claims for health insurers were low because the new wave of Covid meant that public hospitals were not able to accommodate people for insurance-funded procedures, and older people were reluctant to go public