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HIA: 1,000 people a week dropping health insurance

The Health Insurance Authority has warned of a cycle of increased premiums causing more customers to cancel policies, resulting in premiums rising further.

Image: Official US Navy Imagery via Creative Commons/Flickr

UP TO 1,000 people a week are dropping their private health insurance policies in a bid to save money, according to a new survey by the Health Insurance Authority (HIA).

An estimated 75,000 people are expected to drop their cover over an 18-month period (July 2011 to December 2012), according to the HIA. The authority warned of a cycle of increased premiums causing more customers to cancel policies – which in turn would result in premiums rising further.

Yesterday, it emerged that the HIA had warned the Health Minister Dr James Reilly of the problem last year following the results of a survey conducted by Millward Brown Lansdowne, which involved 1,011 interviews.

Earlier this month, Reilly confirmed that in the year to the end of March, there were 76,000 fewer people with private health insurance in Ireland. He said around 2.139 million people (46.6 per cent of the population) were now covered by private health insurance.

Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher said that the HIA’s findings were a “damning indictment” of the Government’s policy on health.

“The overwhelming reason put forward by people who have had to cancel their insurance policy is the cost of the premium, followed by job losses and an employer no longer providing health insurance,” he said. ” The HIA survey shows people see health insurance as a necessity rather than a luxury and that they feel cover is required for quicker access to healthcare.”

Read: Health Minister confirms 76k fall in those with health insurance

Read: Less than half of Irish population have health insurance cover

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