Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has called on the Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly to halt a dangerous policy which is continuing to drive health insurance costs upward and beyond the reach of thousands of families. Deputy Kelleher makes the remarks after it was revealed in the Sunday Business Post that Quinn Healthcare is to increase premiums again in light of the 40% increase in the Government levy on policies.
Deputy Kelleher said: “I have raised this issue with the Minister for Health before and warned him that the agenda he is pursuing is driving up insurance costs. Minister Reilly has been totally dismissive of genuine concerns being brought to his attention and we see again today the results of his policy. At the time the 40% increase in the health levy was announced I made it clear that it would be difficult for health insurers to maintain the status quo. Quinn Healthcare is now of the view that it cannot absorb an increase on this scale and that will be forced to raise the cost of insurance once again.
The Government announced on January 4th that the health insurance levy would increase to €285 for adults and €95 for under-18s from €208 and €95 respectively.
Deputy Kelleher said: “The Minister has already publicly acknowledged that his restructuring of the health service is going to take 10 years. The families that are being forced out of the private insurance market want certainty and peace of mind now. Having already contributed through their taxes to the health service many families also want the added peace of mind of private health cover. However it is the actions of this Government and Minister Reilly that is taking away that choice.
“When is this Minister and this Government going to realise that its policy is creating a vicious circle where up to 6,000 private health insurance policies are being abandoned, increasing pressure on the public hospital system, increasing waiting times for patients and exposing a smaller client base of private insurers to further increases. The reality of the Government’s policy is that far from making health insurance universal it is actually making sure that people who have cover now cannot afford to renew their policy.”