YOUNG PEOPLE AND students should be incentivised to take out health insurance by means of discounts, says a new report published today on how to best achieve cost reductions in the private health insurance (PHI) market.
The independent report, the first in a two-part report, contains 32 recommendation on cost-saving. It states that due to the reduction in numbers holding PHI, the age of those holding PHI, increases in claims costs, increases in premiums and the overall state of the economy are having a serious impact on the PHI market, its costs and its sustainability.
One recommendation states that due to just 44.6 per cent of the population having inpatient health insurance plans, young people should be encouraged to take out policies by means of a financial penalty for people who take out health insurance for the first time after age 30. This is known as lifetime community rating, stated the report.
The report also recommends that health insurers should prove their commitment to retaining and attracting persons in the 18-29 age group by discounting premiums for full time students up to age of 23, which is allowed at present under health insurance legislation.
Health insurers should ensure that patients are treated at the lowest possible cost consistent with quality, finds the report, which adds that insurers should use existing information on the appropriate treatment locations for individual procedures. It added that insurers should use information of this kind to query cases claimed as an in-patient which might have been carried out on a day basis.
It’s recommended that insurance companies publicly acknowledge that fraud and malpractice exists and should publish data on the extent of monies recovered from hospitals and consultants.
Minister Reilly said:
I will continue to focus on addressing costs in the private health insurance market, to keep insurance as affordable as possible for people who wish to avail of private health insurance.The Government’s clear objective is for the health insurance market to remain as competitive and affordable as possible, as we move towards a new system of Universal Health Insurance.