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Over-35s to face penalty on first-time health insurance policies

The move is designed to bring younger customers into the market.

CUSTOMERS WHO WAIT until they hit 35 to take out health insurance will face a penalty on their policies.

The move was announced yesterday by Health Minister James Reilly and is designed to attract younger customers to the market.

The system will come into effect on 1 May next year and will put 2% onto new policies for over-35s.

The system, known as the Lifetime Community Rating, will mean that a 50 year old who has held insurance since he or she was 30 would pay the same as a 30 year old, but a 50 year old who purchases insurance for the first time would pay more than a 30 year old.

A 2% loading will apply for every year beyond 35 that a person does not take out a policy.

The Health Insurance Authority says that a community system is needed in Ireland.

“Community rated markets depend on a continuing influx of younger people. Younger people claim less on average and, accordingly, a continuing influx of younger people keeps premiums down for everybody. Conversely, if people wait until they are older before taking out private health insurance premiums will increase for everybody.”

The regulations include exemptions for people who are unemployed or have emigrated.

Reilly said that the policy was “an important initiative”.

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