Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Education and Skills
360. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the substantial increase in health insurance costs resulting from the Health Insurance Authority decision to categorise non-EEA students studying here on courses of more than one academic year as ordinarily resident for the purposes of the health insurance Acts; the impact this will have on the ability of third-level institutions to attract international students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29855/20]
I am aware of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in relation to health insurance provision for international students.
The possession of adequate health insurance is a requirement of our immigration services, in order to protect the exchequer from potentially substantial additional costs for the public health system in managing the health needs of a large number of people from outside the EU.
My Department, in its role as Chair of the High Level Group on International Education, has engaged extensively with the sector, and with other relevant Government Departments and Agencies in recent years, to examine possible solutions to this issue once it emerged, whilst remaining cognisant that the matter has been the subject of legal proceedings before the Irish courts.
My Department understands that the higher education representative bodies are in discussions with a number of registered insurance providers to source policy quotes that are affordable, that meet the needs of international students and that comply with the Health Insurance Acts, in so far as the Court of Appeal judgement pertains. The future insurance cover costs for non-EU/EEA students will only be known once these discussions have concluded, and my preference would be to arrive at an outcome where the insurance market operates to provide this necessary cover at an acceptable price.