Responding to the publication of the Review of Measures to Reduce Costs in the Private Health Insurance Market 2013, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher urged the Health Minister Reilly to move quickly to implement its recommendations.
“We all know that there is an ongoing and persistent increase in the cost of private health insurance, with a crisis of affordability for both individuals and families developing,” said Deputy Kelleher.
“The increase in private health insurance premiums is significantly ahead of inflation generally and of health sector inflation, with an average of 6,000 consumers leaving the private health insurance market every single month.
“There is little incentive for younger people in particular to take out health insurance and the haemorrhage of younger, healthier policy holders is threatening the sustainability of the market by generating further upward pressure on health insurance premiums for those who remain.
“A separate report from the Health Insurance Authority, published last week, forecast that another 40,000 18-29 year olds will quit their cover by March 2015. Overall more than 100,000 are expected to give up health insurance in that time.
“For almost 3 years now Minister Reilly has done nothing to remedy the situation despite the pledge in the Programme for Government to act speedily to reduce costs in the delivery of both public and private health care.
“Indeed in the recent Budget, Minister Noonan made things worse by capping the tax relief available on 90% of policies. Add this to the recent levy hike, and the average family is likely to be hit with a €330 hike in their premium next year.
“Last March Fianna Fáil tabled a Dáil motion that called for, amongst other things, the introduction of lifetime community rating. That is a key recommendation in the report published today and I again call on the Minister to implement it.”