If you are 35 years of age or over and you do not have health insurance before 1st May 2015, due to Lifetime Community Rating your premium may cost more.

If you take out private health insurance earlier in life, and retain it, you will pay lower premiums compared to someone who joins when they are older.

How are the LCR loadings calculated?

From the 1st May 2015, if you are purchasing a private health insurance policy for the first time at age 35 years or older you will pay a 2% loading on top of your premium for every year you are aged over 34 up to a maximum of 70%

Who will pay Lifetime Community Rating Loadings?

Loadings will apply on health insurance policies that start on or after the 1st May 2015. From this date, anyone who takes out private health insurance at age 35 or over, who has never had health insurance in Ireland before or has had a break in their cover of more than 13 weeks, will pay a loading. These are the only incidences where loadings apply. The level of loading will depend on the age at which the person takes out private health insurance.

Note: There is a grace period up to 30th April 2015 prior to the introduction of loadings during which individuals of any age can purchase private health insurance without incurring loadings. Following the expiry of the grace period, the only way to avoid paying late entry loadings is to take out private health insurance before reaching the age of 35.

Lifetime Community Rating FAQ’s

Will I have to pay a loading for the rest of my life if I continue to maintain my private health insurance cover?

Yes. The loading that applies when a person buys private health insurance after the 1st May 2015 will apply in subsequent years.

Are there any exemptions from lifetime community rating loading?


There will be no LCR loadings applied to those who have health insurance before 30th April 2015

If you have held health insurance in the past, this period of time will become a qualified credited period.

If you have received certain types of social welfare payments or have been financially dependent on someone who has received such payments, you may be entitled to receive credits.

If you have lived abroad before the 1st May 2015 and return to Ireland after this date, you have 9 months to take out health insurance without any loadings.

What happens if I switch from one insurer to another?

Switching from one insurer to another or from one policy to another does not affect the applicable loading. Loadings, if any, will continue to apply and insurers are required to supply each other with proof of an individual’s prior cover.


If I had private health insurance previously, but had a break in my cover, do I still have to pay the loadings?

Yes – but the level of loading will be reduced by the number of previous years health insurance cover you had.


Can I drop my private health insurance cover for a period of time?

Periods of up to 13 weeks without cover will be allowed without affecting your loading.

Why is LCR being introduced?

The primary purpose of introducing LCR is to encourage people to purchase health insurance at a younger age. Encouraging more people to join the market at younger ages helps spread the costs of older or less healthy people across the market, helping to support an affordable premium for all.

Why is the rate of loading set at 2% per year?

LCR legislation outlines the method used to calculate the rate of loadings is based on an assessment across all ages in the market. 2% per year is considered to be a reasonable rate of increase, without being overly punitive.

For more information on Lifetime Community Rating visit http://www.hia.ie/consumer-information/lifetime-community-rating

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