THE NUMBER OF people with private health insurance has dropped by almost 50,000 in the last year.
Figures from the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) have shown that 2,031,000 people had private inpatient health insurance at the end of March 2014, a fall of 47,000 compared to March 2013.
Over the quarter from January to March 2014 there was a fall of 21,000.
That’s more than 1,600 people a week.
At the end of 2008 private health insurance peaked when 2.3 million people had policies, almost 51 per cent of the population.
The current number of policies is just over 44 per cent of the population.
The table below shows the age breakdown of the people who have inpatient cover with the four open membership insurers at 1 January 2014.
Unlike the previous table, this table excludes people insured with restricted membership undertakings and people serving initial waiting periods.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher attacked the Health Minister over the insurance numbers, saying:
Under Minister Reilly’s tenure the market has become more unbalanced in terms of age profile, with the haemorrhage of younger, healthier policy holders threatening the sustainability of private insurance by generating further upward pressure on health insurance premiums for those who remain.
“Between the tax changes announced in the last budget and the subsequent increase in the levy brought in by Minister Reilly all the government has done is exacerbate the problem.”