Vhi has announced an average price increase of 6% across all its plans, which will kick in from 1 August.

The health insurance provider says the increase is necessary to ensure the cost of future healthcare needs of its customers "from 2020 and beyond".

Vhi's Director of Marketing and Business Development said the price increase reflects rising costs in hospitals, increases in consultants' fees, increased utilisation of medical services by customers and the broadening range of innovative treatments and drugs available in healthcare.

In a statement, Declan Moran said Vhi has kept costs down over the last number of years "through prudent cost management".

He said it had passed the benefits of reduced claims costs back to customers in price reductions and increased benefits. 

Vhi paid out €1.328 billion in claims and processed almost 1.2 million claims for its 1.1 million customers last year.