O’Mahony criticises maternity benefit charges for men by health insurers

Private health insurers are charging men for maternity benefit even though they know that men will never avail of the benefits. The policy is unfair according to Mayo Fine Gael TD, John O’Mahony who has asked the Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly to request the Competition Authority to look into the matter.

“Men are being charged for a service that they cannot possibly avail of and it’s unfair that this extra cost is being included in the insurance policies. A week hardly goes by that we don’t read about people opting out of private insurance because of the increase in costs but this is a completely unnecessary cost that is built into the policies across the board. I believe that there is a role here for the Competition Authority to examine the policies that are being sold to men,” he said.

However, Minister Reilly told Deputy O’Mahony that the inclusion of maternity benefit in all health insurance products is a statutory requirement, as part of a legal obligation on health insurers to provide a specific minimum level of benefit in all health insurance products sold.

Dep O’Mahony said he understood the views expressed by the minister but he said the Minimum Benefits regulation could still exist without the need to include maternity benefit for men. “It’s a charge that should not be there, it’s that simple,” he said.

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