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HIA approves €150k spend on lifetime community rating campaign for 2016

The Authority approved the budget at its May meeting, minutes of which have been seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.

The budget for LCR was decided during a broader discussion about the HIA’s communications plan for 2016.

Last September, MI revealed that the HIA had spent €730,000 on its advertising campaign in the run-up to the launch of LCR in 2015. This, added to the LCR helpdesk support (€73,000), brings the total cost of the HIA LCR campaign to approximately €803,000.

LCR, also known as ‘late entry loading’, commenced on 1 May last year and the new regime means that anyone aged over 34 years who did not have private health insurance before that deadline will now have to pay higher rates if they do take out a policy. LCR proved politically controversial at the time of its launch.

Separately, the June meeting of the Authority noted that the HIA’s accounts show reserves of approximately €9.6 million to the end of March 2016.

The HIA’s 2015 Annual Report was published at the end of last month and found that “improvements in the wider economy helped the market for private health insurance”.

The number of people with private health insurance at the end of 2015 was 2.12 million, or 46 per cent of the population. This was an increase of 97,000 on the previous year.

“This turnaround was due to a combination of factors, including rising employment in the economy and the introduction of lifetime community rating,” said HIA CEO Mr Don Gallagher.

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