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16 1994

HEALTH INSURANCE ACT, 1994

PART IV

The Health Insurance Authority

Establishment day.

19. —The Minister may by order appoint a day to be the establishment day for the purposes of this Part.

Establishment of Authority.

20. —(1) On the establishment day there shall stand established a body which shall be known as The Health Insurance Authority and is referred to in this Act as “the Authority” to perform the functions conferred on it by this Act.

(2) The provisions of the Schedule shall have effect with respect to the Authority.

Functions of Authority.

21. —(1) In addition to the functions conferred on the Authority by sections 12 , 14 , 15 , 17 and 18 , the principal functions of the Authority shall be—

(a) to manage and administer any schemes prescribed under section 12 , and to establish and maintain the fund referred to in that section,

(b) to maintain the Register,

(c) to evaluate and analyse returns made to it under section 12 (4),

(d) to advise the Minister either at his or her request or on its own initiative on matters relating to the functions of the Minister under this Act, the functions of the Authority and health insurance generally, and

(e) to monitor the operation of this Act and the carrying on of health insurance business and developments in relation to health insurance generally.

(2) The Authority shall have all such powers as are necessary for or incidental to the performance of its functions.

Conferral of additional functions on Authority.

22. —(1) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance and, if in so far as the order relates to the supervision of registered undertakings, the Minister for Enterprise and Employment, by order—

(a) confer on the Authority such additional functions in relation to health insurance and related matters as he or she considers appropriate, and

(b) make such provision as he or she considers necessary or expedient in relation to matters ancillary to or arising out of the conferral on the Authority of functions under this section or the performance by the Authority of functions so conferred.

(2) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance and, if in so far as the order relates to the supervision of registered undertakings, the Minister for Enterprise and Employment, by order amend or revoke an order under this section (including an order under this subsection).

(3) Where an order is proposed to be made under this section, a draft of the order shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the order shall not be made unless a resolution approving of the draft is passed by each such House.

Consultants and advisers.

23. —Subject to the prior approval of the Minister, the Authority may from time to time engage such consultants or advisers as it may consider necessary for the performance of its functions and any fees payable by the Authority to a consultant or adviser engaged under this section shall be paid by the Authority out of moneys at its disposal.

Power to borrow.

24. —(1) The Authority may, subject to the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance, borrow money (including money in a currency other than the currency of the State) for capital or current purposes.

(2) Any moneys borrowed by the Authority pursuant to this section and any interest accruing thereon may be secured on the revenue or property of the Authority.

Gifts.

25. —(1) The Authority may accept gifts of money, land or other property upon such trusts or conditions (if any) as may be specified by the donor.

(2) The Authority shall not accept a gift if the trusts or conditions attached to it would be inconsistent with its functions.

The Registrar.

26. —(1) There shall be a chief officer of the Authority who shall be known as the Registrar and Chief Executive and is referred to in this Act as “the Registrar”.

(2) The first Registrar shall be appointed, and may be removed from office at any time, by the Minister.

(3) Thereafter, the Registrar shall be appointed, and may be removed from office at any time, by the Authority with the consent of the Minister.

(4) The Registrar shall not be a member of the Authority.

(5) The Registrar shall carry on and manage and control generally the administration and business of the Authority and perform such other functions as may be determined by the Authority.

(6) The Registrar shall not hold any other office or position without the consent of the Authority.

(7) The Registrar shall hold office on and subject to such terms and conditions (including terms and conditions relating to remuneration and superannuation) as may be determined by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance.

(8) The Registrar shall be paid, out of moneys at the disposal of the Authority, such allowances for expenses incurred by him or her in the performance of his or her functions as may be determined by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance.

(9) The Registrar may make proposals to the Authority on any matter relating to its activities.

Staff of Authority.

27. —(1) The Authority may appoint such, and such number of, persons to be members of the staff of the Authority as it may determine with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance.

(2) (a) A member of the staff of the Authority (other than the Registrar) shall hold his or her office or employment on such terms and conditions (including terms and conditions relating to remuneration and superannuation) as the Authority may, with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance, determine.

(b) The Authority may, with the consent of the Minister, remove from office a member of its staff (other than the Registrar) at any time.

(3) The Authority may perform any of its functions through or by the Registrar, or any other member of its staff, duly authorised by the Authority in that behalf.

Superannuation of staff of Authority.

28. —(1) The Authority may, with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance, make a scheme or schemes for the granting of superannuation benefits to or in respect of persons appointed to whole-time positions on the staff of the Authority.

(2) A scheme under subsection (1) shall fix the time and conditions of retirement for all persons (including the Registrar) to or in respect of whom superannuation benefits are payable under the scheme or schemes and different times and conditions may be fixed in respect of different classes of persons.

(3) The Authority may, with the consent of the Minister and the Minister for Finance, make a scheme amending or revoking a scheme under this section including a scheme under this subsection.

(4) If any dispute arises as to the claim of any person to, or the amount of, any superannuation benefit payable in pursuance of a scheme or schemes under this section, the dispute shall be submitted to the Minister who shall refer it to the Minister for Finance, whose decision shall be final.

(5) No superannuation benefits shall be granted by the Authority on the resignation, retirement or death of a member of the staff of the Authority (including the Registrar) otherwise than in accordance with a scheme or schemes under this section.

(6) A scheme under this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the scheme is passed by either such House within the next 21 days on which that House has sat after the scheme is laid before it, the scheme shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Membership of either House of the Oireachtas or of European Parliament.

29. —(1) Where a member of the Authority is—

(a) nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann, or

(b) elected as a member of either House of the Oireachtas or to the European Parliament, or

(c) regarded pursuant to section 15 (inserted by the European Assembly Elections Act, 1984 ) of the European Assembly Elections Act, 1977, as having been elected to such Parliament to fill a vacancy,

he or she shall thereupon cease to be a member of the Authority.

(2) Where a person who is a member of the staff of the Authority is—

(a) nominated as a member of Seanad Éireann, or

(b) elected as a member of either House of the Oireachtas or to the European Parliament, or

(c) regarded pursuant to section 15 (inserted by the European Assembly Elections Act, 1984 ) of the European Assembly Elections Act, 1977 , as having been elected to such Parliament to fill a vacancy,

he or she shall thereupon stand seconded from employment by the Authority and shall not be paid by, or be entitled to receive from, the Authority any remuneration or allowances in respect of the period commencing on such nomination or election, or when he or she is so regarded as having been elected, as the case may be, and ending when he or she ceases to be a member of either such House or such Parliament.

(3) A person who is for the time being entitled under the Standing Orders of either House of the Oireachtas to sit therein or who is a member of the European Parliament shall, while he or she is so entitled or is such a member, be disqualified from becoming a member of the Authority or the staff of the Authority.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (2), that subsection shall be construed as prohibiting, inter alia, the reckoning of a period mentioned in that subsection as service with the Authority for the purposes of any pensions, gratuities or other allowances payable on resignation, retirement or death.

Advances by Minister to Authority.

30. —The Minister may from time to time, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, advance to the Authority, out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, such sums as the Minister may determine for the purposes of expenditure by the Authority in the performance of its functions.

Disclosure by member of Authority of interest in proposed contract.

31. —A member of the Authority who is in any way, whether directly or indirectly, interested in—

(a) any body corporate with which the Authority proposes to make any contract, or

(b) any contract which the Authority proposes to make,

shall disclose to the Authority the fact of that interest and the nature thereof and shall take no part in any deliberation or decision of the Authority relating to the contract, and the disclosure shall be recorded in the minutes of the Authority.

Accounts and audits of Authority.

32. —(1) The Authority shall, in addition to any account kept by it under section 12 (3), keep in such form as may be approved by the Minister with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance all proper and usual accounts of all moneys received or expended by it including an income and expenditure account and balance sheet and, in particular, shall keep all such special accounts as the Minister may direct.

(2) Accounts kept in pursuance of this section shall be submitted as soon as may be after the end of the financial year of the Authority to which they relate to the Comptroller and Auditor General for audit and a copy of the income and expenditure account and of the balance sheet and of such other (if any) of its accounts as the Minister may direct and a copy of the Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the accounts shall be furnished to the Minister as soon as may be and the Minister shall cause copies of each of the documents aforesaid to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

Reports and information to Minister.

33. —(1) The Authority shall furnish to the Minister such information regarding its income and expenditure as he or she may direct.

(2) As soon as may be after the end of each financial year of the Authority, but not later than 6 months thereafter, the Authority shall make a report to the Minister of its activities during that year and the Minister shall cause copies of the report to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas.

(3) Each report under subsection (2) shall include information in such form and regarding such matters (if any) as the Minister may direct.

(4) The Authority shall, whenever so requested by the Minister, furnish to the Minister information in relation to such matters as he or she may specify concerning or relating to the scope of its activities generally, or in respect of any account prepared by the Authority or any report specified in subsection (2) or section 32 or the policy activities, other than day to day activities, of the Authority.

Disclosure of information.

34. —(1) A person shall not, without the consent of the Authority, disclose any information obtained by him or her while performing (or as a result of having performed) duties as a member, or member of the staff of, or an adviser or consultant to, the Authority.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) shall prevent the disclosure of information in a report made by the Authority or by or on behalf of the Authority to the Minister.