Health Insurance protects you and your family from the costs that can arise when illness or injury needs to be treated. There is a very wide range of health insurance plans available, with a broad range of costs and associated benefits.
What does Health Insurance Provide?
The exact terms vary from plan to plan, but the following benefits may feature in a health insurance policy:
- Cover for private or semi-private hospital accommodation
- Cover in a public or private hospital
- Cover for hospital services as a private patient
- Cover for day case procedures in private hospitals
- Cover for day to day medical expenses
- Accident & Emergency cover abroad
- Maternity Cover
- Health Screening
- Telephone consultation with a qualified nurse or doctor
You should note that not all these benefits are offered by every Health Insurance Plan – moreover different plans provide different levels of cover under each heading.
In recent years the market has seen the emergence of plans with a fixed excess per claim. An excess plan is usually at least 10% cheaper than a plan with no excess. In the event you require hospital treatment you will be asked to pay the first €50, €75 or €125 of the claim for example. It is important to note that the excess applies per claim irrespective of the number of nights you stay in hospital.
Why do people buy health insurance?
- Access – People purchase health insurance to gain access to the hospital of their choice when the need arises
- People who wish to be re-imbursed for medical expenses for day to day treatments
- People who want access to private hospitals when they require treatment
- People who want access to private accommodation when they require treatment
Decisions to be made when buying Health Insurance
When buying health insurance you should consider the following questions:
- Do I want access to private hospitals or am I happy with public hospitals only
- Do I want a private room or am I happy to share a room in the event I require treatment
- Cost – what can I afford to pay?
- Is cover for day to day medical treatments important to me
- What level of cover do I require for trips overseas
- Would I be comfortable with an excess on my policy
- What level of cover does my plan provide for maternity benefits
Costs of Health Insurance
The cost of Health Insurance is driven largely by the level of cover required and the number of people you need to cover. The cheapest plans can cost as little as €45 a month, but usually provide very limited cover. The most expensive plans can cost up to €600 per month, and provide full cover for accommodation in Ireland’s Hi-Tech private hospitals.
Those looking for a private room in a public hospital in the event of sickness can expect to pay in the region of €65 per month for cover. Those who require a private room in a private hospital can expect to pay in the region of €140 per month. Those who require a private room in Ireland’s sophisticated private hospitals, such as the Blackrock Clinic or the Mater Private Hospital, can expect to pay up to €300 per month.
It is important when taking out Health Insurance that you take out appropriate cover for the whole family and remember that different members of the family can be on different plans.