Written Answers. - Community Rating Principles.

Robert Molloy

Question:

65 Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Health the current position regarding discussions on whether BUPA's plans infringe the community rating principle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3901/97]

Limerick East): On 17 January I announced that, following recent discussions, agreement had been reached between my Department and BUPA Ireland in relation to a dispute concerning products it had launched here. In the context of the agreement reached, BUPA Ireland reaffirmed its commitment to community rating and announced its intention to introduce, in the near future, a new suite of community rated health insurance products.

As regards the cash plans it had launched, BUPA agreed to immediately cease advertising these and to replace them, as a matter of urgency, with a new range of cash plans. This new range will be clearly designed to compete in the already established cash plan market.

Pursuant to the agreement, BUPA Ireland is availing of informal consultation arrangements with my Department prior to the introduction of the new products.