Hopes health insurers will pass savings to customers

The Government is to decrease some levies on health insurers, which will be seen as a positive move for those paying private health insurance.

Health Minister Simon Harris is due to bring the Health Insurance Amendment Bill 2017 to Cabinet this morning which will see no change in stamp duty on insurance companies and reductions in stamp duty in some instances.

When the levy was increased by Government previously, these hikes were passed on to customers in many cases.

In April, a 10% increase in health insurance stamp duty levies came into force. This meant that stamp duty on products providing “advanced” cover jumped by €41 to €444 per adult.

Separately, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is expected to bring a memo to his colleagues on Ireland’s promises around accepting refugees and will outline a new Family Reunification Scheme for refugees and their relatives under the Irish refugee protection programme.

Mr Flanagan will detail how this county can meet its target of taking in 4,000 refugees. This will include proposals to make 530 places available for immediate family members in conflict zones to rejoin relatives already settled here.

The minister will use his discretionary powers to introduce the scheme.

While Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe will not attend Cabinet today, as he is in Washington, two memos from his department will be brought forward by Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

The first will sign off on funding for the 85% Christmas bonus announced in the budget, with money being reallocated from higher than expected PRSI contributions as well as a lower than expected expenditure on jobseekers payments. An amendment to the Finance Bill to change the rules around stamp duty on agricultural land will also be brought forward.

Cabinet is expected to agree to bring forward a timed amendment to Labour’s Housing (Homeless Families) Bill 2017 due to be debated in the Dáil on Wednesday.

Communications Minister Denis Naughten is to bring two memos around climate change to Cabinet before travelling to COP23 climate conference in Germany this week.

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