A new study has found that one in ten consumers has a major concern about the rising cost of private health insurance.

The study, commissioned by the Health Insurance Authority, found that 40% of people feel increases in premiums in recent years are not justified.

About 40% of people surveyed said they would discontinue the private health cover if premiums rose by 20%.

Over half of the population now has private health insurance.

The main reasons people take out cover are the perceived high cost of medical care and inadequate public hospital services. Faster access to hospital care and a private consultant are also key factors, according to the study.

The study found that consumers are largely satisfied with the value provided by health insurance.

However, the Health Insurance Authority says a growing number of people are delaying taking out cover until they are older and more likely to need it.