On 16 November, the Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2016 was referred to the Select Committee on Health. The Bill amends the Risk Equalisation Scheme (the "Scheme") which has been in place since 1 January 2013.

Under the Scheme, in order to compensate insurers for the extra cost of insuring older and less healthy members of society they receive risk equalisation credits. Open market insurers pay stamp duty levies in respect of each insured life covered and these levies fund the credits. The Health Insurance Authority administers the risk equalisation fund into which the stamp duty levies are transferred.

The main object of the Bill is to lay down the amount of premium to be paid from the risk equalisation fund which would apply from 1 April 2017 with regard to age, gender and level of cover. The Bill would also make amendments to the Stamp Duty Consolidation Act 1999 as the community rating stamp duty levies would need to be revised in order to fund the risk equalisation credits. The Bill also outlines the circumstances in which an insurer may take a health insurance product off the market and provides a definition of reasonable profit for the purpose of assessing overcompensation under the Scheme.

In order to accommodate the Revenue Commissioners in their collection of stamp duty the Bill proposes to move the date on which the changes in the rates of credits and stamp duty come into effect from 1 March to 1 April.

A link to the Bill is here.