herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Laya welcomes tax freeze but urges industry reform

IRELAND'S second-biggest health insurer has welcomed the offer of a Government tax and levy freeze but warned that it won't replace fundamental reform of the crisis-hit sector.

Laya healthcare managing director Donal Clancy said his firm supported anything that helped control costs, but stressed the sector required far more than a simple levy and price moratorium.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar has written to all Irish health insurers about a proposal he intends to bring to Cabinet.

This will offer firms a freeze for up to two years on all Government levies and tax relief schemes in return for suspending all healthcare package price increases for two years.

flood

Mr Varadkar's proposal is seen as an acknowledgement that the sector needs support given the flood of people cutting policies on affordability grounds.

Laya research has found that, if the current trend continues, Ireland will lose 25pc of policy holders, a whopping 500,000 customers, in an eight-year period to 2016.

"Of course we welcome Mr Varadkar's offer to freeze all levies," he said.

"But the problem goes much deeper than that - we need to see regulation of the VHI, we need to see a fairer implementation of the risk equalisation levy, the maintenance of tax incentives and the roll-out of the lifetime community rating."

Laya employs 440 people.

DAN WHITE: PAGE 14

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