THE NUMBERS of people covered by private health insurance fell yet again in the first quarter of 2013, according to new figures published today.
The Health Insurance Authority’s figures show that 21,000 people ended their private cover between the end of December and the end of March.
That drop is the second-biggest quarterly drop since the Health Insurance Authority’s figures were first published in September 2009.
Only the second quarter of 2011 saw a bigger drop, when 29,000 people left the market in three months.
The fact that the numbers have dropped so steeply when the market is already depleted, however, suggests that the rate at which people decided to cancel their private healthcare policies remains close to an all-time high.
A total of 61,000 people fell off the books of the four private health insurance providers between March 2012 and March 2013.
There are now a total of 2,078,000 people who are covered by inpatient health insurance, roughly 45.3 per cent of the population.
By comparison, 50.9 per cent of the public was covered by an inpatient policy in 2008, when the market peaked.