Health insurers in the State must pass on any savings from proposed abolition of hospital charges on to their members, according to Fine Gael Senator Martin Conway.
Martin Conway, Fine Gael’s Seanad spokesperson on health, said: “The Health Minister has recently indicated that public adult inpatient and outpatient charges could be abolished in 2023.
“A day inpatient charge of €80 is generally imposed on patients who do not have a medical card, which is capped at €800 per year. A fee of €100 can charged to a patient who attends an outpatient clinic without a letter of referral from a GP.
“The current fee of €100 for people attending an emergency department and without a GP letter will still apply.
“This proposal is extremely positive and will ensure better access and affordability for all patients availing of healthcare in the State. It also comes after the Government approved the abolition of overnight and day case public in-patient charges for children in public hospitals.
“A lot of people with private health insurance face monthly premiums of €100 or more, depending on the level of cover they have and in public or private hospitals, or both in some cases.
“If Government moves to abolish statutory hospital charges, it is incumbent upon health insurers to pass those savings on to members.
“The move should also be factored into any excess charges that patients may have to pay on top of what their health insurance policy will cover. Those companies should be transparent and inform members of any positive changes on their health insurance policy.
“I would also take the opportunity to remind customers to shop around as there are substantial savings to be made by switching providers for a similar plan with similar cover and benefits.
“A lot of families and individuals are struggling to meet rising costs and when an unforeseen event or a medical emergency occurs, this can become even more challenging.
“Government has already taken measures to help people and more will be done to ease the cost of living pressures in Budget 2023”, Senator Conway concluded.