Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar
Gnáthamharc

Health Insurance Cover

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 12 November 2013

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Ceisteanna (418, 488)

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

418. Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health if any assessment has ever been undertaken by his Department to assess the indirect cost to the Exchequer arising from some or all of the 240,000 persons who disposed of their private health insurance since 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48290/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

488. Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health if his Department or the Health Service Executive has conducted an economic assessment on the additional cost to the public health system, or his Department's budget, arising from the 240,000 persons who no longer have private health insurance; if he will provide an estimate of the cost of those who no longer have private health insurance and now rely solely on the public health system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48289/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 418 and 488 together.

Under the Health Act 1970, everyone who is ordinarily resident in Ireland qualifies for public hospital care. Notwithstanding this, 44.6% of the Irish population have private health insurance and many people opt to be treated privately. The Irish hospital system contains a mix of public and private hospitals, with public hospitals treating both public and private patients. On admittance to a public hospital, patients make a choice to be treated on a public or private basis by their medical consultant.

My Department has no plans to carry out an economic assessment into the financial impact of patients presenting in public hospitals who previously held private health insurance. It is not known how many persons who previously held private health insurance will subsequently present for medical treatment in a public hospital setting over a future period of time, nor is it possible to predict with any certainty how many people currently holding private health insurance will instead choose to be treated as a public patient, as they are fully entitled to do. Given the above, it is not possible to quantify the direct impact any reduction in numbers of persons holding private health insurance might have on the public hospital system.

My Department will continue to oversee the maintenance of a competitive and sustainable private health insurance market, under the provisions of the Health Insurance Acts 1994 to 2012, and to monitor developments on an ongoing basis, to ensure that the market is regulated appropriately in the transition to a market-based Universal Health Insurance system.

Barr
Roinn