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Reduction in private insurance plans in Irish market

At the end of September 2017, there were 319 health insurance plans available, compared to 352 at the same time in 2016, the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) told this newspaper.

There has been criticism in recent years that the high number of plans is confusing for consumers, as many plans are practically identical but marketed as cheaper ‘corporate’ versions, with many ‘starter’ plans offering poor value and little benefits to entice those wanting to avoid ‘late-entry loading’.

The HIA has also confirmed that no new private health insurance company has approached it recently about entering the Irish market.

In terms of its publishing and research remit, the HIA said that its 2017 market research report is due in the first half of 2018. The Authority commissions consumer research on the health insurance market every two years.

“Furthermore, in 2016 the HIA also procured a report from its financial and economic consultants on an overcompensation assessment in relation to the risk equalisation scheme, as required by the Health Insurance Acts,”  an Authority spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).

“The new Risk Equalisation Scheme 2016 to 2020 introduces a different methodology and benchmark for carrying out the overcompensation assessment and the first assessment with the new methodology is required in 2019 for the three years 2016 to 2018. No annual assessments are required in 2017 and 2018.”

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