Fianna Fáil candidate for the Carlow – Kilkenny bye-election Bobby Aylward has called on the Government to review the implementation of the Lifetime Community Rating when dealing with members of the Defence Forces.
The recent policy change means that anyone who takes out a private policy after the age of 35 has to pay an additional annual premium of 2%. Those who take out health insurance for the first time after the age of 45 will pay an additional annual premium of 20%. This will have a dramatic impact on Defence Forces personnel who have their medical costs covered by the state while in service, but not after they leave.
Mr Aylward commented, “The Government have failed to consider our Defence Force members in the new health insurance proposals. The new rules will result in our soldiers in Kilkenny facing huge health insurance bills on leaving the Army. I understand that the Department of Defence have arranged a meeting with the Department of Health to see if there is any flexibility on the premium to be applied to Defence Force members once they leave service.
“Provision was made for the Health Insurance Authority to review the operation of LCR after April 2017. However, I am calling on the Department of Health to provide an exemption to all members of the Defence Forces now in the application of the Lifetime Community Rating policy. It’s time to reassure Army members that they will not have to pay the additional premium so they don’t feel they need to take out medical cover at this stage. To do otherwise, would be grossly unfair and discriminatory against people who are committed to serve the state” said Mr Aylward.