Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (597)

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

597. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if it is possible for the health insurance companies to discuss with general practitioners and medical practitioners reducing costs for families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21115/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to keeping health insurance affordable for as many people as possible. I have consistently raised the issue of managing costs with the private health insurers and I have strongly urged them to reduce their overall costs, including professional fees.

The vast majority of private health insurance policies provide cover for in-patient hospital treatment, with limited out-patient and GP cover. While there has already been some reduction in associated professional fees I will continue to urge all health insurers to achieve further fee and cost reductions in the interests of consumers.

Additionally, many consumers can make savings on their health insurance premiums by reviewing their level of cover to ensure that their needs are being met, without being over-insured. There are numerous lower cost plans available from all four health insurers and it is quite possible for consumers to find a similar level of cover in the market for a cheaper price. The Health Insurance Authority (HIA) provides information to consumers regarding their rights and also on health insurance plans and benefits. The HIA plays an important role for customers, both in ensuring that they have accurate information, and in enforcing the implementation of the law protecting consumers in relation to health insurance. The HIA's website www.hia.ie has a useful plan comparison tool which assists in finding suitable and competitive health insurance plans.