Is the private health insurance industry model ‘broken’, as the VHI boss Jimmy Tolan has suggested? Have older people been priced out of the market as a result of the latest price hikes?

While a rise in health insurance costs probably on the cards, VHI’s shocking announcement that it will increase premiums by 15 to 45 per cent goes much further than that.

At the heart of the problem is that VHI remains under the ownership and administration of the second most dysfunctional department of government (after the Department of Finance) – the Department of Health.

Despite last May’s announcement that the company would be privatised and sold off within two years, most likely at an additional cost of about €350 million to already beleaguered taxpayers, no reform has taken place.