ICOS Statement on High Court Judgement in the case of the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) v Chubb European Group plc on 22 October, 2018
Yesterday’s ruling is a blow for international students, and for Ireland’s internationalisation ambitions.
While of course fully respecting the High Court’s decision, Director of the Irish Council for International Students, Sheila Power, said that yesterday’s ruling is a blow for international students, and for Ireland’s internationalisation ambitions. Private medical insurance, which is an immigration requirement, will become considerably more expensive, and quite potentially an unacceptable additional financial burden for non-EEA students who wish to pursue studies in Ireland for longer than 12 months. As a result of this ruling, insurance plans available to international students are expected to increase dramatically from approximately €120 in year one of their studies to many times this amount in year two and beyond, potentially adding several thousand euro to the overall cost of study in Ireland, and making Ireland less competitive as a result.
ICOS had previously argued that non-EEA students do not earn residency rights while on study programmes (Stamp 2), so should not be restricted to HIA regulated health plans that are subject to community rating, open enrolment, lifetime cover and minimum benefits. These plans are designed for, and more appropriate to, citizens and long-term residents in Ireland.
In addition, plans currently available through HIA regulated providers are deficient when it comes to the type of cover most needed for international students. “What Higher Education Institutions most want, and what immigration authorities demand, is reassurance that students have sufficient cover to include repatriation costs and provision for support from immediate family members in the case of death or serious illness/injury of the student. No policy currently satisfies the HIA regulations while also providing repatriation cover to students’ home countries,” Ms Power added, “and unless there are some changes students could be faced with buying two policies, which is entirely unacceptable”.
To help obviate the likely adverse consequences for the sector and for Ireland’s internationalisation ambitions, ICOS calls on the Department of Education and Skills to consider the implications of this ruling, and to facilitate interdepartmental discussions to explore the issues that arise. ICOS is ready to engage in constructive discussions that will help to mitigate any negative impact on international students currently studying in Ireland, and on those who hope to come here to study in the future.
For further information contact:
Irish Council for International Students
Tel: (01) 660 5233