Private heathcare in Ireland

There are a number of purely private hospitals that operate independently of state health services in Ireland. If you opt for private care in a private hospital, you must pay the full cost of treatment and maintenance.

Private and semi-private hospital care in Ireland is also provided in public and voluntary hospitals. If you opt for private care in a public or voluntary hospital, you must pay for your maintenance at a rate set from time to time, in addition to public hospital in-patient charges.

For further information please visit Private and semi-private hospital care

Using health insurance

Health insurance is used to pay for private care in hospital or from various health professionals in hospitals or in their practices. The arrangements vary from one insurance company to another but most have agreements with hospitals that the company will pay the hospital directly. In general, you pay the health professional and then claim from the health insurance company.

There are a number of companies that offer voluntary private health insurance in Ireland:

  1. The Voluntary Health Insurance Board
  2. Laya Healthcare
  3. Aviva

There are also restricted employee schemes e.g. Gardai, prison officers and ESB employees

The benefits of private health insurance include:

  • Cover for private and semi private hospital accommodation
  • Cover for in-hospital consultant services as a private patient
  • Other cover including maternity, overseas, psychiatric and out-patient benefits

For further information please visit Citizens Information – Private Health Insurance

Health Insurance Authority (HIA)

The HIA is the statutory regulatory body established to regulate the private health insurance market in Ireland.

It aims to ensure that consumers are aware of their rights and its website, www.hia.ie , provides helpful information when choosing an insurance provider, including;

  • What kind of hospital do I want?
  • Which benefit would be of most value to me?
  • How much risk am I willing to accept?
  • Which product offers the best value?
  • How to make a complaint

The website also has a useful online product comparison tool which can help you identify the best insurance plan for your circumstances – Health Insurance Comparison

Cross-border issues

  • If you are not a frontier worker but live in the South and wish to use a Northern hospital for antenatal care and for the birth of your baby it is usually necessary to hire the services of a private consultant.  The consultant may charge approximately £2000 for antenatal care and attendance at the delivery. The hospital charges may be in the region of £2000-£4000 depending on the hospital and the type of delivery needed.
    You should contact the maternity department of the hospital as soon as possible and request contact details for their consultants.
  • If you’re already covered by private health insurance in Northern Ireland you may be able to transfer to a health insurance provider in the Republic of Ireland.
  • EU legislation requires insurers to allow members to transfer to another provider without penalty.

Frontier workers

  • If you live in one jurisdiction and work in another you may be eligible for healthcare both where you live and where you work, for further information please visit BorderPeople / Healthcare for Frontier workers.

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