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Monday 25 September 2017

Health cover tax relief cut will push out thousands

Leo Varadkar Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Leo Varadkar Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Charlie Weston and Eilish O'Regan

Price hikes and changes to tax reliefs on health insurance policies would make cover so expensive it would force thousands of people to opt out, it has been claimed.

Families would face paying an extra €1,000 for health insurance due to a combination of price hikes that are going through the system and if proposals to scrap the tax relief on policies are implemented.

Health insurance expert Dermot Goode said that most families were already likely to be hit by cumulative increases of between €300 and €500 due to price rises that have already been announced.

"Eliminating tax relief could add a further €600 to family healthcare costs, which most simply cannot afford," said Mr Goode, of TotalHealthCover.ie.

The new Oireachtas Future of Healthcare Committee recommending the tax relief on health insurance policies be scrapped or scaled back.

But the proposal was firmly ruled out by Health Minister Simon Harris and Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar yesterday.

"That is not a proposal that would work," Mr Harris said.

Mr Varadkar insisted the focus should be on fixing problems in the health service before any plan to remove tax relief.

Irish Independent

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