Press Release

Tánaiste to establish Scheme to address the insurance difficulties experienced by certain persons infected with Hepatitis C/HIV

The Government has agreed to a proposal from the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney T.D., to establish a scheme to address the insurance difficulties experienced by persons infected with Hepatitis C/HIV through the administration within the State of blood and blood products.

The Tánaiste said “I am pleased to announce the establishment of this Scheme which will provide reasonable access to the insurance market for those for whom the cost is prohibitive or cover is unavailable”.

The person requiring insurance will pay the average basic premium, which an uninfected person of the same age/gender would pay, with the State paying the addition risk premium or assuming cover on the life where the assuror deems the person uninsurable. The Scheme will cover all standard life assurance policies offered by life assurors who are authorised to transact life assurance business in Ireland and who opt to participate in the Scheme. A scheme to cover travel insurance loadings will also be devised.

The main components of the scheme are:

  • life assurance to age 75, with a maximum life assurance cover of €400,000 or 7 times earned income of the Eligible Participant or his/her Partner up to a maximum of €500,000. These sums will be indexed in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.
  • mortgage protection cover up to age 75 on purchasing or changing the primary residence, up to a maximum of the Average House Price in Dublin + 25% or €375,000, indexed in accordance with TSB/ESRI (Dublin) House Price Inflation;
  • For an initial period of twelve months (or, if later, three years from the date Hepatitis C/HIV is diagnosed) all persons with Hepatitis C/HIV will be entitled to apply for cover under the Scheme. Thereafter, a waiting period to apply, during which full cover would be phased in over two years for the under-50s and three years for over-50s).
  • There will be an open period for young people who are not able to avail of insurance/mortgage protection at this time, until the date of their 30th birthday.

The Tánaiste thanked Dr Elizabeth Kenny, Chairman of the Consultative Council on Hepatitis C and the executive members of Positive Action, Transfusion Positive, the Irish Haemophilia Society and the Irish Kidney Association for their co-operation and assistance in devising the scheme.