The Authority is a statutory regulator of the private health insurance market. The Authority was established in 2001 under the Health Insurance Acts.
The Authority is independent in the exercise of its functions. The principal functions of the Authority as provided for in the Health Insurance Acts include the following:
- To monitor the health insurance market and to advise the Minister (either at his or her request or on its own initiative) on matters relating to health insurance;
- To monitor the operation of the Health Insurance Acts and, where appropriate, to issue enforcement notices to enforce compliance with the Acts;
- To carry out certain functions in relation to health insurance stamp duty and age related tax credits and in relation to any risk equalisation scheme that may be introduced;
- To take such action as it considers appropriate to increase the awareness of members of the public of their rights as consumers of health insurance and of health insurance services available to them; and
- To maintain “The Register of Health Benefits Undertakings” and “The Register of Health Insurance Contracts”.
The Authority shall exercise such powers as are necessary for the performance of its functions. The Minister for Health and Children (“the Minister”) may assign further responsibilities to the Authority as provided for in the Acts.
The Authority is audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General and subject to the requirements thereof. The Authority is also subject to the corporate governance procedures of the “Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies” issued by the Department of Finance. The Authority is a public body to which the provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts, 1997 and 2003 and the Data Protection Act 1998 apply.