A Laois councillor has won support for her demand that insurance companies be stopped from charging higher premiums to people tested for who have been tested for Covid-19 in the same way people who were tested for AIDSs were hit with higher costs.
Cllr Aisling Moran won the support of fellow Laois County Councillors for a motion in which she called on the Minister of State with responsibility for insurance Sean Fleming to put in place laws to prevent this happening again.
Cllr Moran called on the Laois Offaly TD to use his office to prevent life assurance companies from increasing or adding higher premiums and penalties to new and existing policies.
The Fine Gael councillor claimed this happened in the 80s and 90s in relation to the Aids virus.
“People were classed as a higher risk if they had a test for HIV even if the test was negative,” said the Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District councillor.
Speaking on the motion she said this is an issue that could become a problem.
“Insurance companies are opportunistic with regards to ways to increase customers premiums,” she said.
She said in the 1980s and 90s people who left Ireland for work had to have mandatory HIV tests.
“On their return to Ireland when looking for life assurance, these people discovered that they were given much higher quotes because they had had a test for HIV, not that they tested positive,” she said.
Cllr Moran claimed insurers were able to access medical records.
“My concern is that the same penalty would be imposed for having had a Covid-19 test. A move against this should be legislated for immediately to prevent it happening again,” she said.
Cllr Moran said mass testing is needed to control the virus so people must be protected from insurance companies.
“Make it a law that the insurance companies cannot put a higher premiums on the fact that you have had a virus test,” she said.
She said she could understand if there was a higher premium if you have tested positive because the long term impacts are not known.
Cllr Olle Clooney backed the motion and said there was already evidence of insurance problems with Covid.
“All we have to do is look at FBD and the way they are treating the pubs. They won’t honour their contracts. It is sad,” she said.
Cllr Conor Bergin praised his Fine Gael colleague’s proposal.
“It is great to see forward-thinking. We are not going to live with this pandemic forever but there will be a lot of legacy issues in every aspect of life,” he said.
Her Laois County Council colleagues backed the motion.