Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has called on the Minister for Health James Reilly to intervene as health insurance costs spiral out of control.  Deputy Kelleher is urging the Minister to meet the VHI and request that it halt its planned increase in premiums.

The insurer has announced that its prices will increase by an average of 6% from next month.

Deputy Kelleher commented: “The reality of this increase is that more than €300 is being added onto some of the most popular family plans.  This increase will only lead to less people being able to afford to renew their health insurance.  Minister Reilly’s failure to tackle costs is seeing a record 6,000 people dropping their policies every month.

“The Central Statistic Office has already pointed out that increased charges for health insurance during last year were a key driver of inflation, placing yet more pressure on families.  The very people falling out of the health insurance market at the moment are young, healthier people – many with young families who health insurers need to support the cost of care for older customers.  Driving this group out of the health insurance market with higher costs only damages the market and leads to unsustainable costs for others.

“At the moment the health insurance levy is €285 for an adult and €95 for a child.  But the problem people are facing is that this keeps increasing.  Last year alone the levy put an extra €760 onto the cost of a family plan for two adults and two children.  And there is a further increase coming down the tracks as a direct result of Minister Reilly’s policies.

“At a time when thousands of people are being forced to drop their health insurance every month Minister Reilly should be focussed on tackling costs and driving rates down to encourage more people to renew and take out cover but instead the Minister seems intent of presiding over the collapse of the private health insurance market.”

“One of Fine Gael’s key promises in its Five Point Plan for the election two years ago was to introduce Universal Health Insurance.  However it looks like we are moving in the opposite direction.  With Minister Reilly in charge, costs are spiralling out of control and we’re headed toward a system where only the very wealthy will be able to pay for health insurance cover.”