Health insurers are preparing to take on the responsibility of providing cover to millions of people in the country, after a major health bill was shelved in parliament on Tuesday.

Read moreThe Irish Insurance Corporation (IIC) will take over the management of the health system and the national insurance system from the government, which has said it will continue to pay out subsidies for people to buy private health insurance and cover their own medical costs.

But the insurance companies, which have the power to set premiums and deductibles, said they would not pay for people’s private health coverage, saying the system was in the hands of insurers.

“We don’t think it is in the best interests of the taxpayer to be taking on this responsibility,” IIC chief executive Richard Murphy said.

“There are no public funds involved in the private health market, and we are in no way, shape or form asking anyone to pay for it.”

The Irish government has said its public sector insurers are responsible for providing cover for everyone who has private health cover, with no money going to private insurance companies.

But the companies say they have no role in the system.

The government has promised to provide financial support to insurers as it tries to balance its books, with a target to spend €2bn by March 2021 on the health sector.

But it will not be able to deliver on that by 2020, leaving millions of uninsured and struggling to afford their healthcare.

“No, we are not going to get any more subsidies,” Murphy said, insisting that people would continue to be covered by the health insurance scheme.

“What we are doing is working towards that goal.

The problem is, as we have seen over the last two years, that it has become much harder to get people to sign up.”

This is about the people who are not able to sign into the scheme.

They are not getting any more support and they are getting worse support.”IIC has also proposed that it will provide financial incentives to insurers, in the form of reduced premiums and higher deductibles for people who sign up for private health plans.

But a senior IIC official said it was unlikely that such incentives would work.”

I do not think it will be sufficient to encourage people to join private health schemes,” the official said.

Read the Irish Times’ coverage of the Irish health bill: