VHI has revealed it will reduce the cost of most of its plans by an average of 5.5%.  

The health insurance provider says the reduction will apply to almost 90% of its customers and will take effect from 1 March this year. 

The company said it is also introducing additional benefits on some of its plans, including genetic testing for some hereditary cancers, access to an online doctor through an app and fitness screenings. 

VHI Director of Marketing and Business Development Declan Moran said the changes to rates will save its customers money.  

"We understand that many of our customers continue to struggle with affordability," said Mr Moran. "They also want access to primary care, to digital enabled technology and access to innovative benefits... today's announcement responds to these needs."

Mr Moran said VHI can make the reductions "due to a solid business performance over the last number of years supported by another strong financial performance in 2017."

Last year, the health insurance provider increased the price of plans by an average of 2%. 

VHI said under the reductions announced, a family of two adults and two children renewing on the ‘One Plan Starter’ package will save in the region of €224 a year. 

Meanwhlie, two adults renewing on ‘HealthPlus Extra’ will save approximately €262 a year and for two adults renewing on the ‘HealthPlus Premium’ rate, will save approximately €776 per year.