Press Release

Tánaiste announces that persons aged 65 and over to be able to avail of Health Insurance Cover

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children has presented draft regulations to the Houses of the Oireachtas to replace the existing Open Enrolment Regulations and to make some minor clarifying amendments to the Risk Equalisation Scheme.

The proposed Open Enrolment Regulations will, from 1 July, entitle persons aged 65 and over, who do not already hold cover, to avail of health insurance. Up to now, insurers were not obliged to offer cover to persons aged 65 and over who did not already hold cover.

Speaking today the Tánaiste said – “ I am happy to bring forward this amendment to allow people who are aged 65 or over, but who do not have medical insurance, to join a scheme. Some people who retired to Ireland, or who have returned to Ireland in the past where prevented from acquiring health insurance and this will now be rectified.”

The proposed regulations provide for these changes while retaining the basic structure of the existing regulations in relation to the serving of initial waiting periods and pre-existing condition waiting periods before cover takes effect.

In a community rated market it is necessary to have protections in place for the insurers operating in the market and for the market itself. As set out in the White Paper on Health Insurance the proposed regulations provide for an initial waiting period of 104 weeks for persons aged 65 and over, who are not renewing cover, and a ten year waiting period in respect of pre-existing conditions. Waiting periods do not apply for certain health services when required as a result of an accident or injury.