Private health insurance

 

Sir, – I read with disappointment the “Second Opinion” piece in the Health + Family supplement (“Are the Irish the most naive health consumers in the world?”, July 4th).

The “farcical story” regarding private health insurance holders feeling bullied when signing the waiver form in public hospitals is a direct quote from a member who contacted us. She is unfortunately one of many of our 560,000 members who have complained about the manner in which the waiver form is currently being presented to them in public hospitals and they have asked us to act on their behalf. We are trying to ensure this experience for our members doesn’t continue and my intentions in this regard are very sincere. We have repeatedly called on the Department of Health and the HSE to agree protocols with public hospitals around how the private insurance patient form is presented and communicated.

Ireland’s health insurance system is based on the principles of community rating, which apply to all health insurers, not just one insurer as named in the article.

Health insurance provides choice for people who don’t want to rely on the public system. Promotions such as “Children going free” that were referenced in the article are one of many offers promoted by all health insurers. Most people will be aware that it would be illegal for any health insurer to “aggressively target lower-risk younger customers” as all plans and products are available to all ages. Laya Healthcare provide market-leading benefits with comprehensive cancer cover, orthopaedic and ophthalmic cover without shortfalls; and full cover in direct payment centres for dexa (bone density) scans and mammograms. These benefits provide great choice and excellent cover for members of all ages.

In relation to comments around profits, as a regulated entity we are bound by our prudential and regulatory responsibilities and we are obligated to ensure the solvency of our business. We need to remain profitable as any other position for a private company would be untenable.

I will continue to act on our members’ behalf and to collaborate with all key stakeholders in the provision of healthcare to improve our health system and to get the best possible outcome for our members. – Yours, etc,

DÓNAL CLANCY,

Managing Director,

Laya Healthcare,

Eastgate Road,

Eastgate Business Park,

Little Island, Co Cork.