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VHI lashed over audit 'cover-up'

INSURER VHI should delay the price hike until the company's audit has been published, Opposition parties have demanded.

The company has been under growing pressure after it announced a rake of premium increases -- up to 45pc.

US consultancy and actuary business Milliman were commissioned by the Department of Health last summer but officials said that it is commercially sensitive and can't be made public in full.

Fine Gael health spokesman Dr James Reilly said that the Irish taxpayer paid for the report which the Government received last September.

"It should now be published without delay," he said.

"It is ridiculous to hear the Government is now talking about a new risk equalisation scheme not coming into effect until 2013 when it is already two-and-a-half years since the Supreme Court struck down the previous scheme."

The VHI has been invited to the Oireachtas Health Committee on January 25 to answer the questions on the price hikes.

The premium increases mean price hikes of between 15pc and 45pc from February.

The VHI said that it has already delivered savings of €100m through a range of cost containment initiatives.