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Insurance for all and state subsidies: Universal Health Insurance paper published

The Taoiseach says the plan is a delivery on a promise of change.

EVERYONE IN IRELAND will have health insurance, with state subsidies for many, under an ambitious plan unveiled today.

The White Paper on Universal Health Insurance, entitled The Path to Universal Healthcare, outlines how Ireland can reach a sustainable universal healthcare model.

The paper says that the objective of the government is to “bring to an end the existing unfair, unequal and inefficient two tier health system and deliver a single-tier health service, supported by universal health insurance, where access is based on need, not ability to pay”.

Speaking at the launch of the paper, Health Minister James Reilly said “the publication of this White Paper is a key further step on the road to implementing Universal Health Insurance. This document sets out in significant detail Government plans around the introduction of Universal Health Insurance.

“It will lead to the most radical reform of our health services in decades and will result in a fairer, more effective health service.”

Under the plans:

  • everyone will be insured and have a choice of health insurer;
  • everyone will have equal access to a standard package of services, based on need;
  • the State will pay or subsidise the cost of UHI premiums for those who qualify;
  • various protections will apply in the case of those purchasing UHI policies, including open enrolment, lifetime cover and community rating;
  • health insurers may not sell insurance that provides faster access to services covered by UHI, and
  • · healthcare providers supplying care under UHI may not sell faster access to services covered by UHI.

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The publishing of the paper also marks the beginning of a public consultation process. The process will last eight weeks, running until Wednesday, 28 May.

More detail of the process is set out on the Department’s website.

The Taoiseach says the plan is a delivery on the government’s “promise of change”.

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