Written Answers. - VHI Indemnity Losses.


asked the Minister for Health if he will give a comprehensive report on the recovery plan proposed to deal with the indemnity losses incurred by the VHI; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The VHI Board's recovery programme includes cost containment measures, designed to effect savings of £18 million against projected costs in 1989-90, and subscription increases to yield about £6 million in increased income.

The principal elements of the programme are as follows: (i) subscription increases of 3 per cent on Plans A and B, 10 per cent on Plan C, 16 per cent on Plan D and 25 per cent on Plan E. The increases have been graduated by plan to reflect broadly the underwriting experience and to ensure greater equity; (ii) cash limits on total VHI payments to public and private hospitals, so as to prevent any rise in costs for the next 18 months while ensuring that the existing volume and case mix is maintained; (iii) the revision of the consultants' fees payment schedule; (iv) the benefit for normal delivery in a maternity case to be restricted to £300, the existing benefit being maintained for complications; (v) the withdrawal of benefit under the out patients scheme for the cost of prescribed drugs; and (vi) the establishment of claims audit and medical audit procedures.

I would refer the Deputy to my speech to the House during Private Members Time on Tuesday, 31 January, in which the background to the VHI Board's recovery plan was discussed in detail.