Noticeboard

State Boards Vacancies – Voluntary Health Insurance Board

Background to the Voluntary Health Insurance Board

The Voluntary Health Insurance Board, (VHI) trading as Vhi Healthcare, is a not-for-profit semi-State body which is the State’s largest provider of private health insurance. The Board was established at a time when a substantial percentage of the population, whose income was above a certain level, had no entitlement to free or partially free medical or surgical services. Since that time, eligibility for public health and personal social services has been significantly extended and the private health insurance market has been opened to competition. There are, at present, two other privately owned companies providing private health insurance competing with VHI in the open market.

The VHI’s most recent annual report, outlining its financial position and its range of activities, can be found on its website at this link.

VHI, like all other Irish private health insurance providers, is regulated by the Health Insurance Authority (www.hia.ie), under the Health Insurance Acts, 1994-2009.

The Minister for Health is now considering the filling of four vacancies which currently exist on the Board, arising from the expiration of the term of office of a number of former members. Expressions of interest are now sought by persons with skills and experience relevant to the functions of the Voluntary Health Insurance Board.

Functions of the Board

The main function of the Board is to make and carry out health insurance schemes as it sees fit, in accordance with Section 2 of the Voluntary Health Insurance (Amendment) Act 1996.

In addition to this, the Board acts as an agent for an international health insurance plan, in accordance with section 1 of the Voluntary Health Insurance (Amendment) Act, 1998 and may also carry out schemes for the provision of services in respect of health care, health insurance, illness related insurance, personal care or related activities, in accordance with Section 7 of the Voluntary Health Insurance (Amendment) Act 2008.

Details of appointment

The Board is governed by the provisions of the Voluntary Health Insurance Acts, 1957-2008.

Section 4 of the Voluntary Health Insurance (Amendment) Act 1996 provides for the constitution of the Board, which consists of a chairman and a maximum of eleven other members, all of whom are appointed by the Minister for Health.

Section 6 of the Voluntary Health Insurance Act 1957 provides that the term of office for a Board member shall be a period not exceeding five years, to be determined by the Minister on the member’s appointment. Board members are eligible for re-appointment when their term of office expires.

Fees and expenses

Ordinary members of the Board are entitled to remuneration of €11,970 per annum. It is Government policy that Board fees should not be paid to public servants. Travel and subsistence expenses arising from the business of the Board are payable in accordance with rates laid down by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Skills, experience and other requirements of board members

In making any board appointments, the Minister will not necessarily be confined to those who make such expressions of interest but will ensure that all of those appointed have the relevant qualifications for the positions. In that respect, the Minister will have regard to the particular functions of the VHI as well as ensuring that the appointed board members have an appropriate mix of skills and experience in such areas as corporate governance, legal expertise, financial expertise (with particular reference to audit capability and/or project assessment).

In particular, any experience applicants may have in relation to the insurance or financial services industry, the health sector in general or the following specific areas would be of particular interest:

  • Health Economics
  • Capital Markets
  • Experience in dealing with regulatory bodies, in particular at a European level

Other relevant information

At the present time, VHI does not hold an authorisation by the Central Bank of Ireland in respect of its core health insurance business. The Government has recently decided to advance the process of VHI’s application for authorisation, subject to further Government decisions to be made on any capital injection the VHI may require.

In that regard, it should be noted that Board members or Directors of an entity authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland are subject to its Fitness and Probity standards. Further details on this can be found on the website of the Central Bank of Ireland (www.centralbank.ie).

How to apply

The closing date has now passed (03 February 2012).