The Minister for Health James Reilly has said he is concerned about the increasing cost of private health insurance, but has hit back at claims from some insurers that the health levy is to blame.
Laya Healthcare said one in three people will drop their health insurance this year as a result of increasing premiums and it is urging the Minister not to go ahead with a planned increase in the levy at the end of the month.
A record number of people - 64,000 last year alone, according to Health Insurance Authority (HIA) report this month - have dropped their health insurance cover.
Laya healthcare's Managing Director, Dónal Clancy, said the private health insurance industry was critically sick because of the rising price of health insurance and challenged Minister Reilly to address the issue.
However, speaking at a health conference in Dublin, Dr Reilly appealed to insurers to carry out robust audits of their costs to keep premiums down.
He also said Laya targets "younger, more profitable customers rather than the more expensive, older customer".