VHI boss faces Oireachtas probe over impact of healthcare levies
THE affordability of health insurance and the impact of the levy on every policy is set to be thrashed out by TDs and senators in the Oireachtas today.
Likely to face a stiff grilling is VHI boss John O'Dwyer, especially as his company is hiking premiums by up to 8.5pc again next month.
Key questions are set to be asked about the levy on every policy sold – with the VHI the main beneficiary of this.
The levy is set to jump to €360 on every adult policy from the end of next month. This is a rise of €200 per policy since 2009.
The levy is in place, and rising rapidly, to refund the VHI for having such a large proportion of older members.
But TDs will be, no doubt, anxious to know what the VHI is doing to cut its own costs. This is something that has been called for by Health Minister James Reilly.
One useful area to pursue might be that nice little perk retired staff of the VHI got until recently.
All those who retired with full service were given health insurance paid by the VHI.
In 2011 the VHI was forced to make a provision of €28.2m in its balance sheet to fund this perk.
It now says this nice little benefit is only going to be paid when it has funds in place to do so. And the provision will not have to be made in the accounts for 2012.
Just as well, when VHI boss Mr O'Dwyer is seeking to hike the levy to €450 a year per policy.