Decisions on Health Insurance Run Counter to Jobs and Competitiveness

Chambers Ireland has criticised the Government for failing to recognise the damage its approach to private health insurance is doing to consumers, providers and businesses. Specifically, given the recent changes announced in Budget 2014 regarding the Health Insurance Tax Relief Cap, an increase in the Health Insurance Levy would further damage what is a very fragile market.

Speaking this morning, Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive, said “All consumers are keenly aware of the increase in the cost of private health insurance driven by the introduction of the Health Insurance Levy in 2009. This has resulted in a dramatic number of younger, healthier people cancelling their policies. A vicious circle is created whereby the levy is required to cover the cost of the aging subscription base. This leads to higher costs, further drop out of young people from the system and further increases in the levy. This undermines the economic model on which the system is based.

Chambers Ireland is particularly concerned about the impact increases in the cost of health insurance have on Ireland’s labour market competitiveness and attractiveness as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment. This Government has done so much to incentivise inward investment; however, a further rise in the cost of health insurance will lead to an increase in labour costs for employers who contribute to the private health insurance of at least 250,000 employees.  Ireland must be as competitive as possible across all metrics used for investment purposes.

Government must ensure that decisions taken by all departments, including the Department of Health, do not run counter to the aims of job creation and supporting business,” he concluded.