Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2018: Committee and Remaining Stages

I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, to the House.

Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 6, between lines 47 and 48, to insert the following:

“Amendment of section 3 of Voluntary Health Insurance (Amendment) Act 1996

5. Section 3 of the Voluntary Health Insurance (Amendment) Act 1996 is amended by the addition of the following subsection after subsection (3):

“(4) The Board shall furnish the Health Insurance Authority and the Minister for Health with a yearly report on the increases in premiums of private health insurance due to Risk Equalisation Rates.”.”

This amendment is intended to aid in figuring out how costs are going and whether there has been overcharging. The amendment was intended to add some checks and balances to make the Bill more robust. Following a parliamentary question from Deputy Louise O'Reilly which was answered on 27 November, I will withdraw the amendment. However, I ask that the Minister of State consider options to improve checks and balances in respect of health insurance hikes as a result of risk equalisation. The reply from the Department of Health said that it was making such checks, but they did not seem robust enough to me. I withdraw this amendment in order to let the Bill go through.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 5 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.
Sitting suspended at 12.40 p.m. and resumed at 1.30 p.m.