Dáil Éireann - Volume 481 - 09 October, 1997

Written Answers. - Health Insurance.

38. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children his views on whether it is appropriate for his Department to continue to act as regulator of the health insurance market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15898/97]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): The Health Insurance Act, 1994, enacted on 30 June 1994, provided for the Minister for Health to be the regulator of the health insurance market in the first instance. The Act also provided for a health insurance authority but did not require the authority to be established in advance of the operation of a risk equalisation fund between competing insurers in the private health insurance market. The legislation defined the setting up and management of such a fund as one of the primary duties of the authority.

I accept that the present arrangement is not the most satisfactory, particularly in view of the statutory relationship between the Minister for Health and the Voluntary Health Insurance board. It is my intention to look at all options regarding the separation of the Minister's differing roles in the health insurance market.