Latest: Public 'being double-charged for health system they already paid for'

Latest: Public 'being double-charged for health system they already paid for'

Update 12.40pm: The Managing director of health insurer Irish Life, which took over Glo and Aviva Health recently, has said that the Government is forcing them to pay for public care.

His comments come after the Department of Health confirmed a 10% rise in the insurance levy today.

"People are now being double-charged for a public system that they've already paid for through their taxes," said Jim Dowdall.

"Two people together - one person happens to have private health insurance, one person doesn't - the second person will get charged €75 a night, the person who just happens to have a health insurance card will get charged €813."

Update 11am: The Health Minister Simon Harris has asked insurance companies to consider not passing on a planned hike in the insurance levy to consumers.

The Department of Health has written to insurers to say there will be a 10% rise in the insurance levy from next April.

It could add more than €40 to the cost of premiums, while insurers are also announcing their own price hikes.

Minister Simon Harris said the consumer would not necessarily have to be hit with the levy, adding: "I will be bringing legislation through the Oireachtas shortly, probably starting next week. That will reflect the independent recommendation of the health insurance authority.

"I would urge the health insurance companies not to feel it's obligatory to pass on that increase."

The health insurance levy was introduced in 2009 to help pay for lifetime community rating.

It's increased by 150% since then and currently adds as much as €403 to a premium.

Earlier:

The Government is set to increase the health insurance levy by 10% according to an industry expert.

The department has reportedly written to insurers informing them of the increase.

It comes as Irish Life is set to increase their health insurance premiums by 6%.

Health insurance Expert Dermot Goode said the levy increase will likely be passed on to consumers.

He said: "Rates are all going to go up, probably by April of next year."

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