Ireland’s healthcare system is a comprehensive system with a public health service financed by the government and an increasing private health care service. People who have not been resident in Ireland for one year or more must satisfy the HSE that it is their plan to remain in Ireland for a minimum of one year in order to be suitable for health services.
What is a medical card?
A medical card is a personal document issued to residents of Ireland that are entitled to free or reduced-rate medical treatment. The medical card system is administered by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
More than 30% of people in Ireland have a medical card. Medical Cards gives people the opportunity to get a wide range of health services and medicines free of charge.
A medical card designates the holder to complimentary GP services and out-patient services in public hospitals. Generally, a GP visit would cost someone between €50-€60. Visiting A&E would typically cost you €100 and this is also free for medical card holders.
Medical card holders can also account for all in-patient services in public wards, public hospitals, public consultant services, without having to incur charges of €80 a night and up to a maximum of €800 in any year.
Learn how to apply for a medical card here.
Public healthcare is free to a certain extent in Ireland. Meaning that you don’t have to pay into a specific state insurance policy. Public healthcare in Ireland is primarily funded through taxation. Healthcare in Ireland is mostly free if you own a medical card. If you are not entitled for a medical card there are costs for general practitioner (GP) visits, hospital stays, drugs/medicine and other services. Most services are on offer to everyone for free, but you do have to register for those services.
Private health insurance
Private Health Insurance is extensively used around Ireland. Roughly half of the Irish population is covered by this mode of health insurance. All private health insurance providers are registered with the Health Insurance Authority which is Ireland’s independent regulator for private health insurance.
There are 3 main open Irish private health insurers:
- VHI Healthcare.
- LAYA Healthcare.
- Aviva Healthcare.
These 3 health insurers are compelled to accept all applicants regardless of their age, sex or risk status.
Benefits of Private health care
- In-hospital consultant services.
- Additional cover including overseas, psychiatric, out-patient and maternity benefits.Semi-private and private hospital accommodation.
- To give yourself confidence on choosing the right plan for yourself check out the individual plans table offered by the Health Insurance Authority (HIA) here.
To Conclude the Irish healthcare system is split into public and private services. One and other are services provided by GPs and the Health Service Executive (HSE). The GP’s and HSE are responsible for providing public and community health services. All individual’s resident in Ireland is entitled to receive health care through the public health care system. The health care system is managed by the Health Service Executive and funded by general taxation.