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Firms may stop health insurance

EMPLOYERS have warned that they could be forced to end fully funded health benefits due to rising insurance costs.

Private healthcare insurers said that they will have no option but to increase premiums for customers by as much as 30pc due to the proposals to change the charges for private beds.

But such a move may force many employers, who are already experiencing challenges managing and containing business costs, to re-evaluate the funding of health insurance on behalf of employees, representative groups have warned.

Priscilla Sweeney, head of healthcare consulting at Mercer, said that insurers' reaction to the potential policy change could result in a move away from company funded health insurance in Ireland.

"A number of multinationals and Irish companies are already re-evaluating the health benefits they offer to employees," she said.

"With a possible 30pc increase in costs imminent employers may either reduce health benefits or move to a cost sharing approach with employees."