Govt to sell VHI within three years

The Government has decided to sell off the VHI by the start of 2013.

The move is part of a new strategy on Health Insurance being announced by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Health Minister Mary Harney this afternoon.

The Government says it wants to introduce a new risk equalisation scheme with community rating by the start of 2013.

This will see the sharing of the cost of health insurance between older and younger people and between sicker and healthier people.

As part of the plan the Government will invest in the VHI to get its capital reserves up to the amounts required by the Financial Regulator - how much will need to be invested has yet to be decided.

But the Government then intends to sell the VHI at or before the new schemes come into effect at the start of 2013.

The Taoiseach said these changes are needed for solidarity - and for value and respect of older people.

The Government also said the plan should not have any adverse effect on the cost of health insurance for anyone.

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