Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Questions (25)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

25. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the timeframe for the implementation of universal health insurance; when he expects people to know the likely cost to them of universal health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21251/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

It is my intention to have the legislation for Universal Health Insurance (UHI) in place by early 2016 and to then proceed to have the new system fully implemented by 2019.

The price of premiums for the UHI standard package will be set by the health insurance companies. Price setting for these products is likely to happen closer to the implementation date. The State will subsidise or partially subsidise the cost of insurance for individuals who qualify on income grounds. The price of UHI insurance policies will of course be influenced by policy decisions in relation to the package of services to be covered under UHI and the regulatory structures which will be put in place. In addition, I believe that reforms, including the establishment of the Healthcare Pricing Office, the ongoing rollout of the Money Follows the Patient funding system and the successful implementation of the purchaser/provider split will have a positive impact on the cost of insurance policies under UHI.

While the exact cost of insurance premiums for individuals will not be known until nearer the implementation date I have initiated a major costing exercise to estimate the likely cost of UHI both for the State and individuals and households. This a complex exercise which requires expert analytical support and input from a number of State agencies. I expect to have initial results from this exercise early in 2015.