Ireland Health Insurance
Ireland is blessed with a rich history and culture, friendly people and beautiful landscapes. It is an extremely popular tourist destination and it is not hard to see why. There are many things to do when visiting Ireland. Breathtaking scenery and landscapes await outdoor enthusiasts. Ireland has wonderful opportunities to experience nature and wildlife. The national parks are a great place to start, with walking trails and information on the plants and animals. There are areas of outstanding natural significance that are internationally recognised, such as the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. If you want to get closer to wildlife, from whales and dolphins to birdlife, Ireland is the place to visit.
The quality of healthcare and healthcare facilities in Ireland is generally excellent, although facilities are limited in some rural areas. The structure of the healthcare system in Ireland is similar to that of the UK. Healthcare in Ireland is predominantly free for residents and citizens from the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU).
Ireland offers a national healthcare system to all residents who participate in the social security system (PRSI). In order to receive public healthcare services in Ireland, your income level will determine which public healthcare scheme you will be able to receive. The income limit is changed on an annual basis and is measured according to age and family status. Citizens from European Economic Area (EEA) or European Union (EU) are also entitled to receive the same level of healthcare as Irish citizens. There are two categories of entitlement to public healthcare, i) full range of medical services at no cost, ii) entitled only to certain services free of charge with the remainder to be paid for.
Depending on the income, a medical card will be issued by the Health Board to citizens who are qualified to public healthcare. Services provided under the public healthcare include free treatment from a general practitioner, free prescriptions, all in-patient public hospital services, all out-patient public hospital services, dental, ophthalmic and aural services and maternity and infant care services. For those who are not qualified to pubic healthcare, they are required to pay for all services utilised.
There are three different types of hospitals in Ireland, namely public hospitals (state funded), Voluntary public hospitals (income may come directly from the Government or owned by private bodies e.g. religion entity) and private hospitals. In general, except for emergencies, patients may be admitted or referred to a public hospital for treatment only after consultation with a GP. Patients with private health insurance may be treated at the hospital of their choice, depending on the level of insurance cover. Visiting hours vary from one hospital to another, but are typically two hours during the afternoon and two hours in the evening for public hospitals. However, there are no restrictions on visiting hours in private hospitals.
Private healthcare is also available in Ireland, about 45% of the Irish population has chosen to take up private healthcare, mainly due to long waiting lists in public hospitals and lack of hospital staff and practitioners. Private health insurance premiums attract tax relief at the standard rate of about 20%, which is deducted at source by the health insurance provider. Private hospital charges are however quite high. Those who have no health insurance in place maybe required to pay a deposit in advance.
The total healthcare expenditure as a % of GDP in Ireland is about 7.5%, much lower than 15.3% in the USA. Accessing treatment in a public hospital as a public patient is usually a test of patience. Ireland has 3 hospital beds per 1,000 of population while the EU average is 4.1. Since there are no common waiting lists to access these beds, as a result, irrespective of need or urgency, public patients may wait years for treatments while private patients generally receive treatment within weeks in the same state hospital. The system very much depends on the ability of patients to pay.
In general, there is a shortage of qualified experienced doctors globally, there are only limited places for GP training scheme in Ireland, which limits the number of trained GPs entering the workforce. Moreover, GPs in Ireland are self-employed, they will receive a list of patients covered by the medical card. Each patient is charged a set fee in which the fee is determined by the patient’s age, gender and distance from the practice. The set fee is normally relatively low. Given that GPs received more money from private patients and they can charge patients on a per appointment basis, they usually supplement their income through private pactice. There is more incentive for GPs to dedicate their time and energy to their private patients. In order to truly protect yourself and your loved ones while staying in Ireland, it is very important to put in place a quality health insurance plan.
Private Health Insurance through Globalsurance
Health Insurance policies offered by Globalsurance can assist you to customize the policy coverage to suit your individual requirements. We offer a variety of insurance plans for individuals, families, teachers and groups Whether you are traveling through or an expat working in ireland, global health insurance plans provide some of the most comprehensive medical insurance coverage available. To discuss more with our experienced consultants on the most appropriate level of insurance that meet your needs, please contact us either by phone now or by filling in the simple form here.