asked the Minister of Health whether under the terms of the National Health Insurance Act a contributor who has paid over 104 contributions is not permitted to stamp his card when unemployed; whether if he fails to pay the penalty arrears by November such penalty will be deducted each week in the event of sickness; and whether he will lose from 1s. to 7s. a week in the event of sickness after 1st January, 1922?
The National Health Insurance Acts do not permit of the payment of contributions by persons who are unemployed, except in cases where fewer than 104 contributions stand to the credit of the insured person since the date of his entry into insurance. A person in arrears can, however, avoid reduction of benefits by making a small lump sum payment representing considerably less than his unpaid contributions; it would be of no advantage to him, therefore, to stamp his card in periods when he was unemployed. Every person in arrears has the option of making this small payment within a considerable period of grace or of accepting in lieu thereof a reduction of benfit during the calendar year next ensuing. These reductions of benefit are as stated in the question. It is obvious that, since the benefits of National Health Insurance are provided mainly out of contributions, full benefits could not be paid where insured persons are seriously in arrear. The Regulations governing arrears have been framed, however, to give the utmost indulgence consistent with the maintenance of the financial soundness of the approved societies.