Universal Health Insurance is expected to be in place in Ireland by 2016 if government plans go to schedule. According to the programme for government, insurance with a public or private provider will be compulsory by 2016 with payments related to ability to pay.
What is UHI – Universal Health Insurance ?
The Government plan is that everyone will have health insurance cover for a range of standard services and there will be one waiting list and no queue jumping. For anyone that cannot afford insurance, the State will cover some, or all of the cost. It will be compulsory.
The Government will pay premiums for people on low income and subsidise those on middle incomes. UHI will entitle people to a free package of GP and hospital care.
Insurers will be obliged to provide the same basic package for all but may also have the option of providing supplementary packages. These supplementary packages will not be able to provide faster access to procedures already provided in the basic package.
The planning for UHI is at an early stage – but Free GP Visits should start for some groups of people this summer (2012).
The health insurance market in Ireland is a big income generator. The total the amount of premium income collected by health insurance companies in Ireland has almost doubled, from €1.2 billion in 2006, to €2.03 billion by the end of 2011.
With so much premium income available, it is little wonder that new insurers are looking for a slice of the action.
This week a new health insurance company was launched called GloHealth – and there could be more on the way as the banks and insurance companies line up to make money out of sickness.