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Customers will be able to take a 6 month break from their health insurance without being penalised

The approval of the Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2017 today will result in better value for those who have private health insurance.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS signed off on decreasing some levies on health insurance companies which is set to reduce the cost of some premiums.

There will be no increase next year in the main rate of stamp duty on health insurance contracts.

When the duty was increased earlier this year, it resulted in price hikes being passed on to customers in many cases.

Some other changes are also being made to the current system of loadings.

A loading is an additional cost built into the price of an insurance policy.

This measure was introduced in 2015 to encourage people to take out insurance at a younger age. Those who signed up for health insurance later in life were slapped with penalties and increased price points.

The main change approved today means that people will be able work, travel or live abroad – and won’t incur loadings or penalties upon their return to Ireland, provided that health insurance is purchased. Customers who lived in other countries, who had not held a health insurance policy in Ireland for a number of years, often face much higher premiums.

People will also be permitted to have breaks in insurance cover, of at least 6 months, while living in the State, without incurring loadings on resumption of cover.

An amendment is also being made to ensure there is a time limit on when loadings are payable on a contract.

The change will result in penalties only being applicable for a period of ten years only, rather than for life, as is currently the case.

Health Minister Simon Harris is due to make further announcement on the Bill later this week.

Read: Health minister says the €60 price tag to see a GP is too expensive>

Read: Government’s top housing adviser: ‘Homelessness is a normal thing’>

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