Sir, - There seems to be a consensus among recent letter writers and Dr FitzGerald that we must try to maintain the present community rating system in the Private Health Insurance market.

In addition, there is a realistic fear that this system, under its present application, may not be sustainable, especially at the VHI.

I suggest that we consider a change with VHI subscriptions whereby there are different entry charges to the scheme, depending on age; those entering the scheme at an advanced age paying more than those who joined in their twenties and so on.

This should ensure the continuance of the principle and spirit of community rating and act as an inducement to younger members of the population to join the scheme at an early age; thus subsidising older members who need to use medical services more frequently.

I suggest a stay of three months before operating this system to allow all who wish to join under the present situation to do so.

I must now declare that I am a member of the VHI for about 17 years and that as the years roll by I find the idea of community rating more and more attractive. - Yours, etc.,

Butterfield Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.