Press Release

Statement by the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly TD following the European Court of Justice judgement relating to the Voluntary Health Insurance Board (VHI)

Dr James Reilly TD, Minister for Health today (29th September) noted the decision of the European Court of Justice in a case taken by the European Commission against Ireland concerning the regulatory status of the Voluntary Health Insurance Board (VHI).

Minister Reilly said:

“It has been known for some time that any judgement by the European Court of Justice on this matter would have implications for the future of the VHI. My Department has undertaken significant preparatory work in anticipation of the judgement and I have briefed my colleagues in Government on the matter.

However, it is important to note that following the judgement, the VHI can continue to trade as normal. It will continue to offer health insurance and to pay claims. Now, we must make important decisions on how to address its regulatory position.

I will examine the judgement of the Court in detail and take legal advice as appropriate. I will also engage in discussions with my Government colleagues, the Attorney General, the Central Bank and the European Commission, in order to address the issues raised by the Court judgement and to rectify the situation for the benefit of all. In addition, I am preparing a comprehensive set of actions and will bring proposals to Government shortly on how best to address the issues arising from the judgement, as well as those affecting the private health insurance market as a whole.

I intend to deal with this decision of the Court and other related issues in the health insurance market in a co-ordinated fashion. We need to improve the situation for consumers through effective regulation, a robust and effective system of risk equalisation and a more evenly structured market. This should lead to better competition in which inefficiencies are addressed and costs are kept to a minimum.”