Tuesday 6 December 2016

Health insurance only reinforces our unfair, two-tier system

Lorraine Courtney

Published 28/04/2015 | 02:30

Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Don Gallagher, CEO of the Health Insurance Authority at the launch of a Public Information Campaign on the introduction of Lifetime Community Rating to the health insurance market
Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Don Gallagher, CEO of the Health Insurance Authority at the launch of a Public Information Campaign on the introduction of Lifetime Community Rating to the health insurance market

Health insurance deadline day - or the drive to push more young people into private health insurance as an ageing population puts extra pressure on the health system - is looming.

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Health Minister Leo Varadkar is encouraging it by admitting he took out a new policy recently. You see, with our health service creaking badly despite devouring a quarter of all government spending, private health insurance can easily frighten consumers into trying to buy their way out of trouble and jump waiting lists.

Under lifetime community rating (LCR), anyone aged over 35 who doesn't have private health insurance on April 30 will be faced with higher prices if and when they do take out a policy. It will mean those of us over the age of 34 who take out health insurance for the first time will face a 2pc per year penalty on their health insurance. For a 50-year-old, that represents a 32pc increase, while people 69 and older will hand over the maximum penalty of 70pc.

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