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Health insurance set to rise - but no-one knows by how much

Three months before the risk equalisation scheme is due to come into effect, it remains unknown as to what impact it will have on private health insurance premiums.
Oct 2nd 2012, 3:46 PM 4,416 21

THE AMOUNT BY which health insurance premiums are set to increase remains a mystery, less than three months before a new, permanent risk equalisation scheme is set to commence.

The Department of Health have confirmed to TheJournal.ie that no decisions have been made about the price increases yet, which are due to come into effect from 1 January 2013.

“No decision has been made in relation to stamp duty rates for 2013,” a spokesperson said.

“It is important to note that this money is used to fund tax credits in respect of the higher costs of insuring older people so that all people continue to pay the same amount for a given health insurance product.”

The Irish Independent had yesterday reported that increases in the new year could see insurance costs for a family of two adults and two children rise by approximately €200.

Recent figures from the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) have shown that the number of people with private health insurance continues to drop, with June’s figure of 2,123,000 down over 16,000 from the end of March.

In the two years from June of this year to June of 2010, the number of those with private health insurance policies has dropped by 100,000.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson on behalf of the HIA today said:

The authority has a role in advising Minister Reilly in how a risk equalisation scheme should operate and has been doing that on an ongoing basis over the last year or two.

Responding to the dropping numbers of those who have private health insurance, the spokesperson went on to say:

The numbers holding private health insurance have been declining at a pretty steady rate, but aren’t accelerating. There is still close to 50 per cent who do have private health insurance.
The department [of Health] has noted this decline and noted that affordability is an ongoing concern for people.

Read: Health insurance: Numbers covered fell again in second quarter >

Read: TheJournal.ie’s progress report for the Government: Health >

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Paul Hyland

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