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What You Should Know About Health Insurance in Ireland

When taking out health insurance, it is vital you consider what you want for your specific health needs. Insurance brokers such as Cornmarket can show you the plans available to you for health insurance in Ireland. The experts on here can help guide you to the most appropriate cover for you.

In Ireland, the regulators for the health insurance market are the Health Insurance Authority (HIA). These are an independent body and will breakdown the rights you have as a consumer.

Before taking out any plan, you should be aware of the following:

Age

Those who are over 35 may need to pay an LCR loading charge. Simply put, this means if you 35 or above the first time you buy health insurance, you will be paying an extra 2% on the gross cost of your policy for every year above 34. After ten years, the loading cost stops.  The highest amount of loading to be paid caps at 70%. Known as Lifetime Community Rating, it’s important to get your health insurance sooner rather than later to avoid this fee.

Waiting times

You will have to wait a certain amount of time before you’re fully covered when taking out health insurance of the first time. For example, with pre-existing conditions this is 5 years whilst new conditions are 26 weeks. A new injury or accident is covered immediately. Meanwhile, for maternity cover this is 52 weeks.

Why should I get private health insurance?

If you wish to have more choice surrounding your treatment, then this is ideal for you. There are multiple advantages when compared to using the public health care system as someone without private health insurance. For example, as a patient being treated in the public system, you will not have the right to choose your consultant.

Private health care patients can look forward to a wider range of consultants. Other options at your disposal include accommodation in a private or shared room should you need to stay in hospital. Without private healthcare, you will only have access to public hospitals. High-tech and private hospitals are excluded unless the person pays for this themselves.

‘High-tech’ hospitals in Ireland are all located in Dublin, and include the following establishments: the Blackrock Clinic, Beacon Hospital and Mater Private Dublin. You may also get refunds on medical costs for things like GP charges – subject to the level of your plan.

Your needs

People who do not use outpatient services frequently such as physiotherapy may choose a policy that doesn’t offer many outpatient benefits. By doing this, you take the risk on the basis you are someone who doesn’t usually use this service/very rarely. Remember, this is your policy for your specific health needs and your lifestyle so consider how often you are likely to make use of the benefit offered on the plan.

 The benefits of having private health insurance can include, but are not limited to:

  • Hospital accommodation – you may want a private or shared room.
  • Outpatient services – day case surgery (where overnight hospital stay is not required).
  • Everyday medical expenses such as emergency and non-emergency dental care.
  • Online GP services – being able to access a GP through the use of phone or laptop.

Speed

Opting for care using your private medical insurance may give you a quicker waiting time for an appointment in some cases.

No matter what healthcare plan you choose, make sure to consider your personal needs are met within it and suited to your budget. The comparison tool on the Health Insurance Authority website (HIA) will allow you to browse private health insurance plans available in Ireland. Please note – this tool is for information purposes only and not for purchasing.

Thomas Lyons
Thomas Lyons
Thomas, the founder and chief editor at Top Rated, harbours a deep-seated passion for business, news, and product reviews. His thirst for knowledge and experience has led him on a journey across the length and breadth of the country, enabling him to garner a wealth of insight. At TopRated.ie, his sole aim is to deliver meticulously researched news and provide impartial reviews of fact checked Irish companies, thus helping readers make well-informed decisions.

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