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Health Insurance Ireland
Shorter waiting times is just one of the cover benefits.
Private health insurance helps towards the cost of healthcare, including at private and high-tech hospitals, as well as some out-of-hospital services such as dental care. Depending on your plan, you could also benefit from a range of extras, from ‘digital doctor’ to shorter waiting periods and more.
Read on to find out what you should know before choosing a health insurance plan.
How to compare health insurance
Almost every health insurance policy is different, so it’s not a case of comparing apples for apples. Instead, you have to look at the bigger picture.
- Look at the benefits. This seems obvious, but look at the specific benefits that are included in your policy. If you’re choosing extras, run through exactly what you can claim for. If you want hospital, look out for extra benefits in ‘plus’ policies.
- Explore all your options. There are over many health funds in Ireland; don’t just stick on the same policy as your parents or friends. It’s a regulated industry so you can feel safe exploring your options.
- See what you’re actually paying for. It’s up to you to decide what type of private health insurance you need cover for. Review your extras limits, and make sure you claim them every year. Drop the things you’re not using.
- Review your policy type. If you’re on a couples’ policy, see if you both need to be on the same level of cover or if you’d be better off looking at two singles policies (if one of you is pregnant, or planning to be, for example).
- Switch and use deals. Before switching funds, make sure you’ll be able to carry over your waiting periods. Make sure you check out any sign-up deals every time you switch.
When comparing health insurance, the treatments and extras you’re covered for will vary based on the price you pay. If you want insurance that covers someone other than yourself, you may want to research child, family or joint health insurance.
Three benefits of health insurance
What affects the cost of health insurance?
There are a number of things that can affect the cost of your health cover, including:
- Your age. The cost of cover tends to increase as you get older. That’s one reason it’s always a good time to look into your health insurance options.
- Your job. Working in an industry that’s considered a higher risk of injury, such as construction, could increase your premium.
- Lifestyle factors, including if you smoke. The more healthy you are means the better your chance of finding a competitive premium.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. You may find it hard to get cover for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or arthritis.
- Your cover level. A comprehensive policy that covers you for the most eventualities will be more expensive.
Questions you may have about health insurance
How can I get a cheaper quote for my health insurance premium?
There are a few ways you could find a cheaper quote: one is to compare many quotes from a range of health insurance providers. Choosing to pay a lower level of excess could reduce your premium; just make sure it’s affordable to do so if you were to get sick.
You may decide to reduce your level of cover or agree to a reduced hospital list, meaning you’ll have to choose from fewer service providers than with a regular policy. But again, you’ll need to weigh up if the chance for a reduced premium is worth the lower level of cover you’d have.
Do I have to re-serve my waiting period if I switch providers?
You often won’t have to re-serve waiting periods if you had similar or equivalent cover with another provider. However, if you didn’t previously have cover for a service that your new policy includes, you will probably have to serve a fresh waiting period.
What happens if I cancel my health insurance?
If you cancel your health insurance, you won’t be entitled to the services you would have otherwise had access to. This means you would have to pay out of your own pocket to get the treatment you need.
Is health insurance tax-deductible?
Depending on your income, you may be entitled to a private health insurance offset at tax time or potentially reduced insurance premiums.
What extras will I get with private insurance that aren’t included with public care?
If you choose a private plan, you could have access to a range of extras – these will vary between policies.
Typically you’ll get a choice of out-patient treatments and services, such as dental, psychology, optical, hearing aids, among others. Plus, there are plans which cover the expense of seeing specialists and consultants. Some providers offer additional diagnostic support for non-emergencies, 24/7.
Is the cost of my cover likely to increase in the future?
It often will, yes. This is partly due to inflation and to meet the cost of innovation in the sector. We recommend you should review your policy on a regular basis to ensure you’re still on a good deal.
Should i think about health insurance if I’m self-employed?
Yes, absolutely. Having access to faster treatments at a location of your choice can be of real benefit if you’re self-employed.
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