Tuesday 12 December 2017

Q&A: health cover

What's Universal Health Insurance again?

Health insurance for all, to do away with the two-tier health service and ensure care is provided on the basis of need, not income.

When will UHI be introduced?

It will begin in 2019. As of now.

Who will be covered?

Everyone. It will be compulsory.

What will it cost?

Not clear yet. An expert commission is being set up to establish the costs of the care to be included. When that reports, there'll be a better indication.

Will the State foot the bill?

A subsidy will be available for those who can't afford to pay. Anyone on a medical card will have the full subsidy. Meanwhile, those on middle incomes who neither have a medical card nor afford health insurance will get a partial subsidy, and higher earners will pay the cost themselves.

What's the cut-off point on these income thresholds?

This is not clear at all.

What will people have to pay?

No idea. The Government is saying it won't be more than the cost of health insurance at the moment, which averages at €920 after tax relief is deducted from the bill.

What will it cost the State?

Not clear yet, but there is a guarantee inserted in the plan that it won't cost more than the taxpayer is already spending on health.

What will be covered?

Again, not clear yet. A basket of services, including free GP care, acute hospital care and mental health was in the original draft of the plan, but subsequently removed.

What won't be covered?

A&E, nursing-home care, home care, community services and public health. But the State will still have to substantially foot the bill for these services, separate to UHI.

Irish Independent

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