Coonan responds to criticism of health insurance proposals

Tipperary TD Noel Coonan has responded to criticism from an Independent TD who, in a recent statement, expressed disillusionment with the Government over health insurance prices.

Deputy Coonan said this scaremongering tactic is most unwelcome at a time when so many people, especially the elderly, are presently concerned about securing adequate health provision. Deputy Coonan explained the rationale behind health insurance prices.

“The Independent TD stated the Government is turning a deaf ear and showing inaction with regards Aviva’s increase in levies. In fact, it is unfair to blame excessive price hikes on Government policy. The Government is fully committed to maintaining risk equalisation, which keeps health insurance as affordable as possible for everyone. It means that older people aren’t priced out of the market, and it avoids a situation whereby customers are penalised because of their age.

“In order to protect the system of risk equalisation and community rating, the Government increased stamp duty on health insurance policies in the Budget. People who criticise the increases in stamp duty ignore the fact that we’re doing it to help reduce the cost of health insurance for vulnerable members of society who need it most,” continued Deputy Coonan.

“I am acutely aware of the challenges people are facing paying their health insurance policies, and I understand that Health Minister James Reilly is due to receive a report shortly on the unacceptably high costs in the health insurance market. Health insurers must do more to drive down their own costs, rather than simply heaping increases on consumers. Minister Reilly has raised this issue with the companies on a number of occasions.

“The Government is focussed on the introduction of Universal Health Insurance (UHI), which will provide a single tier health system, based on the key principles of fairness, affordability, choice and equal access for all,” concluded Deputy Coonan.


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