Numbers covered by health insurance fall by 62,000 last year

The number of people covered by in-patient health insurance plans has fallen by 250,000 since 2008

The Department of Health told insurers that Minister for Health James Reilly had decided to stick with controversial proposed new rates for private patients treated in public hospital to come into force from the beginning of next year.

The Department of Health told insurers that Minister for Health James Reilly had decided to stick with controversial proposed new rates for private patients treated in public hospital to come into force from the beginning of next year.

Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 16:09

The number of people covered by private health insurance is continuing to fall, new figures released by the regulator for the sector show.

The Health Insurance Authority said today that there were 2.047 million people insured with plans that covered in-patient treatment at the end of September.

This represents a reduction of 62,000 over the same period last year.

Between June and September of this year the numbers with in-patient health insurance plans fell by 11,000.

Overall since the peak of the market at the end of 2008 the number of people covered by in-patient health insurance plans has fallen by 250,000.

Since September the cost of private health insurance has continued to rise, largely as a result of Government decisions.

Health insurers have maintained that the Government’s move to reduce tax relief on health insurance in the budget in October and the Government’s recent increase in stamp duty could see the net cost of subscriptions rise by 15 per cent next year.

Insurers have warned that subscribers will face even higher increases in premiums from January on foot of a Government announcement on private patient charges earlier this month which they maintain could add close to € 100 million to their costs.

The Department of Health told insurers that Minister for Health James Reilly had decided to stick with controversial proposed new rates for private patients treated in public hospitals to come into force from the beginning of next year.

The Minister had argued last summer that the Government’s intention was that the new rates would generate only € 30 million in additional revenue next year. However insurers have disputed this projection. They maintain that a report on the proposed charges, which they commissioned from consultants Deloitte, forecast that the measures would cost them €115.5 million.

Some insurers have argued that the new rates could realise as much as € 130 million for the Government.