Press Release

Minister Varadkar welcomes continued upward trend in numbers holding Health Insurance

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has confirmed that the number of people with health insurance has increased by 80,000 since the start of this year. In April alone some 74,000 people took out health insurance before the introduction of Lifetime Community Rating on May 1st.

This latest boost in membership numbers represents a surge in the recent upward trend, which has now risen for three quarters in a row. The number of people who currently hold health insurance now stands at 2.105 million.

Minister Varadkar said:

“The number of people covered by health insurance is very clearly rising again, and the six year trend of health insurance cover has been reversed. My officials and I are now working on more proposals to improve affordability later in the year. I believe that health insurance needs to be made more affordable before we consider how it could be made universal. This increase in the number of people holding health insurance is extremely welcome as it helps to control premium inflation and helps to keep health insurance affordable for all.”

The introduction of Lifetime Community Rating is one of a number of measures introduced by the Minister to address rising health insurance premiums and stabilise the health insurance market in the interests of consumers.

Note to Editors:

The introduction of Lifetime Community Rating is a necessary modification to support the viability of community rating within our system of health insurance. Without it there will be a continued deterioration in the age profile of the insured population, which in turn will contribute to claims inflation and higher insurance premiums for all.

Lifetime Community Rating was introduced from 1 May 2015 and late entry loadings of 2% per annum now apply for people who buy health insurance for the first time at the age of 35 and older.

Provision was made in the Health Insurance (Amendment) Act 2014 for young adult rates from 1 May 2015. Insurers retain discretion whether or not to provide young adult rates, although where an insurer chooses to provide young adult rates, they must provide the full range of rates within the specified bands.