Wednesday 18 January 2017

Thomas Molloy: Paradox of private health is that it pushes up costs for everyone

The lack of incentives to cut costs often leaves the State to pick up the tab, says Tom Molloy, Group Business Editor

Published 05/01/2014 | 02:30

Private health care can push the price up for everyone
Private health care can push the price up for everyone

ONE of the big myths that our health insurance companies like to peddle is that people are leaving the system in their droves.

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 In fact, a remarkable number of people are sticking with their health insurers at almost all costs. The problem is not people leaving the system, it is that the health insurers face formidable healthcare inflation.

Almost all of the 250,000 people who have given up private health insurance since 2008 have done so because of the massive emigration this country has experienced since the economy collapsed. The age profile of those leaving the private system, mostly those in their 20s and 30s, reflects almost exactly the age profile of those leaving our shores to seek work elsewhere. As these people no longer live here, they can hardly be expected to have insurance. So there is no real crisis in the system and no mystery to the relatively small decline in those with health insurance. Five years into the crisis, the health insurers are doing well when it comes to retaining membership but doing badly when it comes to making profits.

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