Harney welcomes judgement in risk equalisation case

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health Mary Harney has welcomed the High Court's refusal to grant an injunction blocking the introduction of risk equalisation on January 1.

The British firm BUPA had sought the injunction, saying the move would force it to leave the Irish health insurance market.

Despite today's judgement, the company will not have to make any risk equalisation payments to VHI pending the outcome of a judicial review in the coming months.

However, if it loses that case, it will be required to make payments dating back to the start of 2006.

BUPA said today that it was satisfied with this situation, but repeated its view that risk equalisation would make the company's future in Ireland unviable.

The British firm also said it would continue to make every effort to protect the interests of its 440,000 customers and 300 staff members in Ireland.

The VHI, meanwhile, welcomed today's decision, saying health insurance was about providing cover for the sick and not about making "unconscionable" profits.

It claimed opponents of risk equalisation were motivated solely by the opportunity to make windfall profits and the High Court's judgement would be good for competition, the consumer and the wider community in general.

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