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Coverage

Number of people with private health insurance drops (again)

Just under 45 per cent of the population now has health insurance, down from a high of 51 per cent five years ago.

THE NUMBER OF people with private health insurance has dropped by 62,000 over the past 12 months as increased premiums and lack of cash leads to more people getting rid of their coverage.

There are now 2.04 million people with private health insurance, a drop of 11,000 in just three months. Just under 45 per cent of the population now has inpatient health insurance coverage.

The health insurance marked peaked at the end of 2008 with almost 2.3 million people (50.9 per cent) insured.

The figures were released today by the Health Insurance Authority, the statutory watchdog for the health insurance market.

The health insurance market in Ireland has been turbulent for some time, with the heads of the main companies warning that the government needs to attract more young people into the health insurance market to stop premiums from rising to cover older and sicker people.

A number of health insurance companies have increased their policies recently – or are due to in the coming months – in response to the decreasing number of people with health insurance.

Read: Public, elderly and short-stay: Study finds 1.54 million people discharged from Irish hospitals >

Read: Health insurance bosses stress the need to attract young people to the market >

Read: Department of Health to increase cost of health insurance policies >

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