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Jan 29

For the good o' me health?

Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2009 in Family, Rantings

We as an Irish nation don’t complain enough.

“HAHAHA wha?”

No, it’s true.  We’re a nation without much backbone… all the complaining we do is to the wrong people entirely.


In England perhaps, a person might skip the queue, and will get a severe “Oi mate!!!  Sling yer ‘ook” from people standing further back.  Here in Ireland, that person would hear nothing but whispering and low toned grumbles.  We make our discomfort known by osmosis which is grand in a post office, but in a bigger picture, it’s completely useless.  Our higher powers are getting away with murder, because grumbling is a noise that’s easily ignored.

I’m a grumbler too, but if there’s a petition going around or an opportunity to write filthy emails I’ll hop on it.  Many voices preaching ‘Oi Mate‘ in print makes a slightly bigger impression.

This particular rant is about health insurance, and the fact that I and two million other people in Ireland are forking over a massive levy to cover the Governments asses and keep things the way they are.  That’s hard to swallow.  Things are crap the way they are.

The new levy, effective as of January 1st, 2009 looks like this:

‘€160 per adult & €53 per child with a consequent increase in health insurance premiums

Briefly explained here

Hibernian Aviva Health has created the “Axe the Levy” campaign, believing that we should all be given the right to affordable insurance at a time when the public health system can’t handle its volumes and everyone else is losing their jobs rapidly.

“Hibernian Aviva Health is seeking for the health insurance system to be properly, equitably and effectively regulated, ultimately leading to the ability of all health insurance providers to offer better prices and benefits, drive innovation in the market, and cover new and emerging treatments for all consumers.”

That sounds about right.

So… go, click on the link and fill in your name.  Tell the ‘boys’ in graphic detail where they can stick their levy.


Bring on the comments

  1. Rob says:

    What Hibernian have conveniently failed to point out is that the levy will be used to subsidise health insurance costs for those over 50.

    Given that EU legislation deems risk equalisation schemes anti-competitive, if the levy were scrapped health insurance premiums would have to be based solely on risk – like car insurance.

    As such, the elderly and those living with disease or disability of any sort (i.e. those more likely to require expensive medical care) would have their premiums loaded in much the same way a 17 year old driving an Audi TT would.

    The very people the abolition of the levy will have the greatest affect on are those who can least afford private health insurance yet need it most.

    I think, as far as health insurance is concerned, the principle of paying a little more when you are younger so you can pay a lot less (than your risk rating) when you are older, is a sound one.

    That said, I believe all of society, and not just those paying for private health insurance, should help fund this subsidised health insurance.

  2. Kirk M says:

    Oh lookee what we have here. What a fine new layout you have. I like it much!

    I signed the petition by the way. Let’s hope it does some good as health care everywhere needs to be more affordable for those who work for a living.

    And now to something personal here.

    I’m terribly hurt and I’m really hoping this was a mistake but why oh why have I been kicked off your blog roll? What have I done to deserve your disfavor? Did I say something amiss? Have I, in all ignorance, conducted myself in an ill manner that you would cast me asunder like this?

    I’m lost. I am in limbo. I’m all at sea in the storm without sail nor mast, floundering in torment and agony upon cruel seas. I shall cast all away, stab the heart and forever chain myself to the helm of the Flying Dutchman, never to see land (or your blog roll) again.

    Please tell me this isn’t so, that all was an oversight in your oh so busy life or because I did not fare well in the games you wished me to play in Facebook. What do you require to bring me, once again, kindly in your eyes? You have but to name it and it shall be so.

  3. K8 says:

    Rob; But why does VHI come out on top?

    Illness doesn’t discriminate that much, it’s not ageist. If less of us can afford health insurance, we’re being tossed to the wolves if anything should (and frequently does) happen to us.

    Aren’t younger people of child-rearing age fresh out of education most important to society?

    Kirk M; Oh nicely spotted… I botched a whole category there, oops. Blessings on you and your holy jaw, I’ll have that fixed in no time.

  4. Rob says:

    I don’t see that VHI does come out on top. If anything it gives older customers greater freedom to shop around. Where they were more or less tied to VHI under the risk equalisation scheme, they are now in a position where they can take out policies with whoever offers the best deal and claim the tax relief back from the state.

    Look at the amounts of relief quoted in the article I linked to in my earlier post – €1,175 for people over 80. (That’s just the tax relief – it will come nowhere near 100% the cost of the cover). That tells you the the scale of premiums we are talking about here. And remember, that’s per person – I currently have myself, my partner and her 12 year old son insured for only slightly more than that amount.

    I agree that illness and disease don’t discriminate – but time does. My grandparents, both in their ninties, need more medical care now than they did when they were in their 60s and 70s. And more still than when they were in their 20s and 30s.

    I would hope to be wealthier than Bill Gates by retirement age, but should I find myself relying on just the state pension to survive (currently about €200 per week – 40 hours at minimum wage is about €350 per week), I would rather pay a bit more now (while I am fit, healthy and employable) so I don’t have to pay astronomical fees later.

    I’m no FF or PD apologist (I hate the fuckers) but apart from thinking that the burden should be redistributed in a fairer manner, I think this is a good thing.

  5. Rob says:

    Sorry the other point I meant to make was as follows:

    Aren’t younger people of child-rearing age fresh out of education most important to society?

    They are – but they soon become older. They become pensioners. Many of them trying to exist on the bare minimum that is the state pension.

    They say a society is judged by how it treats its weakest members. Well I don’t believe the contributions an individual made to society should simply be forgotten when they are no longer able to contibute the way they once could.

  6. K8 says:

    Nice arguing – I was definitely ignorant of the specifics before you stated them here, it’s cleverly done from most points of view, but I can’t help but feel that there’s a big brown bulging envelope in it for somebody.

    There’s a delicate balance it seems… the older generation deserves such respect, there’s no doubt about that, but the division seems extreme – like the rest are being punished for a mistake they’re not liable for.

    Join the side of the lesser insurance companies, or join the side of a government that so blatantly keeps tripping up? I can’t decide.

  7. Baino says:

    Here we have a 30% rebate for people who have private health cover to relieve the pressure on our nationalised Medicare system. This is applied as a ‘levy’ to those who aren’t insured and is taken into consideration when you lodge your income tax return. Although as an ‘ageing’ person. I’ve been in the private system since I was 20 and paid full fare so feel that I’m entitled to equitable cover as I age . . .I’ve been in hospital 3 times in 52 years so my cover has helped subsidise older Australians . . .my turn will come I guess. Seems a bit rough penalising the old when they’ve contributed for so many years through tax and private cover? Just a thought.

  8. K8 says:

    Of course the above insurance company (in hindsight) wouldn’t mention the fact that this levy’s subsidising the elderly – I really wasn’t aware of the fact when I wrote it.

    I wouldn’t dream of penalising them or any other sector of the community, but the levy is so high, it seems unbalanced.

    This increase is going to hurt those in lower paid jobs, especially with young families… I don’t see why the government would want them to be pushed towards an overfilled public health system?

    My point is that this is a huge hike… for me anyway, 2 x Adults, 2 x children is €426 -that really hurts right now!

  9. K8 says:

    Oh. I’ve just sat down to relax and read over, and have discovered that my comments above make very little sense. I am highly embarrassed, and reserve the right to blame my children.

    What I should’ve said, is this:

    My wording appears very selfish to my condition, to the extent that I might seem ageist, I’m not. I know I’ll be getting old. I’m against the way the problem has been handled.

    This levy should be means tested on both sides of the fence, shouldn’t it?

    I mean does it seem fair that a young couple with a child suddenly find themselves unemployed with large hikes in health insurance when they need it most? If they cancel their plan, then try to take out a policy again in the future, they’re screwed. What if their heartache meant that their levy went to some retired C.E.O. of a huge company who owns two villas and a VIP seat at all Liverpool matches?

    The levy should apply to those who can afford it, and should only be given to those who really need it. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s going that way.

    I need to study this a bit more, I’m painfully uninformed.

  10. Holemaster says:


    You’re listing number one under a blog search for Hibernian Aviva Health.

    Their levy campaign is a cheap publicity stunt reminiscent of the Axe the Tax campaign in the 1980s. It’s a faux consumer power campaign, cheap advertising for a profit making company.

  11. Rob says:

    I agree K8.

    While I believe the principle is sound, the implementation is completely wrong. It is funded solely by people who have private insurance instead of all Irish tax payers.

    Also, as you mentioned it should be based on ability to pay. At a fixed rate it is deeply inequitable. Somebody on the most basic “public hospital only” scheme pays the same €160 as somebody on the more expensive top notch, gold circle scheme (where you actually stay in your surgeoun’s guest bedroom and post-operative care consists of 2 weeks in the Bahamas). Instead it should be calculated as a percentage of your policy cost – then those who can afford more expensive policies will contribute more to the scheme.

  12. When we first moved here, someone told me that it’s not worth getting health insurance in this country as there’s some sort of cap on how much you pay yearly, and it’s nowhere near the premiums one pays for insurance. I’ve never checked it out though. It can’t be true as I’ve never heard anything about it again. Bloody rip off though x

  13. Hi K8, love the new look.

    The issue that most people miss here is not that the levy is unfair on young families, (it is), or that older people have to pay over the odds for their private health insurance, (they shouldn’t), but that private health insurance shouldn’t be necessary in the first place.

    A large percentage of our taxes go to the Health Service. Given the amounts of money we’ve invested, there is no reason that we should not have a first class service available to everyone, regardless of age or financial ability.

    I for one think that the levy should be scrapped and the money that we already pay should be put to proper use.

  14. K8 says:

    Thanks for commenting on this, that niggling little voice that spoke to me as I wrote it warned me that the petition may not be all it’s cracked up to be, has been voiced by Holemaster, but thanks for reading it anyway!


    Oh well.

    It’s just as well Hibernian insures my sorry ass, it might come in handy when the lynch mob forms.

  15. Holemaster says:

    Still tough it might help getting the thing axed. They also insure my sorry ass.

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