Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said that new measures to be included in planned legislation to be published tomorrow should help contain the rate of increase in private health insurance.

The level of stamp duty paid by insurers is to be frozen from March next year and reduced in some cases.

The levy paid to fund the Health Insurance Authority will also be reduced from 2015.

The minister said he could not say that health insurance costs would fall as a result of the measures, but he believed the era of double digit rises was over.

For the first time since the recession, there has been a modest increase of 1,000 in the number of people taking out cover between July and September.

The legislation will also contain previously announced plans to have discounts for young people aged 18-25.

Another previously announced measure will see a loading on people over 35 who take out cover for the first time from next May.

Insurance Ireland, the representative body for the insurance sector, said it had good engagement with Mr Varadkar at a meeting today on the plans and was reviewing the measures.

Laya healthcare has welcomed the package of measures.

It said it would need to digest and review the full implications of the plans before commenting further on what they mean for the company and its members.