The latest Health Insurance Authority report which says that 10 per cent of 18-29 year olds have dropped their health cover should act as a wake-up call to Minister for Health, according to Fianna Fáil.
The party’s Health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said: “While the number of persons insured overall has decline by 3.2% in the period the drop-off among younger people was three times this rate. The numbers of over 60s’ with insurance has continued to rise. So the market becomes ever more unbalanced in age terms.
“The HIA projects an even greater imbalance by 2015 with almost the number of 18-29 year olds down by almost 40,000 in March 2015 compared to July of this year. That’s an 18% drop. At the same time the numbers over 60 are projected to rise by over 18,000 in that time.
“Furthermore those at the lowest level of cover (non-advanced plans) are cancelling their cover at the greatest rate. To help stem this trend the HIA recommended a reduction in the levy on non-advanced plans to €210. However the Minister ignored this recommendation and kept it at €290.
“The HIA is now projecting that 106,000 will leave the market by March 2015 yet the government continues to do nothing that would improve the situation and the Minister James Reilly appears to simply be in denial. Indeed, rather than take action, the Minister is making it worse by supporting the decision to cap the tax relief on health insurance in the budget.
“Perversely the government that wants Universal Health Insurance is allowing the existing market to decline rapidly.”
Deputy Kelleher concluded: “The report urges the introduction of lifetime community rating and allowing insurers to offer discounts to those aged 18-29. It’s not the first time the HIA has made recommendations like this. I strongly urge the Minister to act on them.”