What is Lifetime Community Rating?
At present, everyone pays the same premium for their Health Insurance, regardless of their age, health status, gender, geographic area or other factors. This is known as Community Rating. With the introduction of Lifetime Community Rating (LCR), this will change from the 1st May 2015.
Under LCR, community rating is modified to reflect the age at which a person takes out private health insurance. Late entry loadings will be applied to the premiums of those who join the health insurance market at age 35 or over. If you take out private health insurance earlier in life, and retain it, you will pay lower premiums compared to someone who joins when they are over 34 years of age.
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Will my age affect the price of my health insurance policy?
Yes. If you take out private health insurance on or before the 30 April 2015, you will pay no loading. After 1 May 2015 if you are under 35 years of age you will pay no loading. However, if you are aged 35 or over, or have a break in cover in excess of 13 weeks, you will incur a 2% loading per year on top of your premium.
Will I have to pay a loading for the rest of my life if I continue to maintain my private health insurance cover?
Yes. The loading that applies when a person purchases private health insurance after the 1st of May 2015 will apply in subsequent years.
Why is LCR being introduced from age 35 rather than a younger or older age?
35 is considered to be an appropriate age to allow young people sufficient time to complete education and to achieve secure employment for a number of years.
Why has the loading rate been set at 2%?
The method used to calculate the rate of loadings is based on an assessment across all ages in the market. 2% per year is considered to be a reasonable rate of increase, without being overly punitive.
What is the maximum loading that will apply?
The maximum loading that can apply is 70% of the total premium. A loading of 70% will only arise on very rare occasions, where a person aged 69 or older is purchasing private health insurance for the first time.
Can an insurer make an exemption for me from the LCR loading?
The application of loadings will be mandatory and cannot be waived by an insurer.
What happens if I switch from one insurer to another?
Switching from one insurer to another or from one policy to another does not affect the applicable loading. Loadings, if any, will continue to apply and insurers are required to supply each other with proof of an individual’s prior cover.
Will the level of the loading be reviewed periodically and if so when?
The Health Insurance Authority will carry out a review of the operation of LCR after a period of two years.
Can I drop my private health insurance cover for a period of time?
Periods of up to 13 weeks without cover will be allowed without affecting your loading. If a break in cover of over 13 weeks occurs you will be subject to a loading.
Where can I get impartial information about private health insurance policies?
You can obtain details on our website www.cornmarket.ie or The Health Insurance Authority provides information on all policies available - www.hia.ie.