Ireland is one of those countries that is so easy to fall in love with. Many expats in Ireland say they chose this destination after visiting the country as a tourist and have kept such a good memory of it that their choice came naturally. Ireland has therefore become in recent years a popular and easily accessible destination.
On the health side, if you plan to live in Ireland for a long stay or an indefinite period, it is recommended to take out health insurance to be fully covered. The public health system, financed by contributions and managed by the HSE (Health Service Executive), is not universal and has special eligibility conditions, the outline of which is as follows.
The Irish health system deciphered
The Irish public health scheme operates on a contribution basis (Pay-Related Social Insurance). However, to access reduced fees and free health services, you will need to be eligible for the medical card by residing – and therefore contributing – for at least one year in Ireland. As an expatriate, you will only have access to public health insurance after one year of residence. This eligibility is also defined according to your level of income received.
Therefore, we quickly understand that there are several categories of eligibility, two mainly:
Full eligibility: access to the medical card
About a third of the Irish population is in this category, and therefore holds a medical card. This concerns:
- People with lower resources: the maximum income threshold is calculated weekly and differs according to the age group of the individual.
- Students aged 16 to 25 living with their parents
The medical expense exemption concerns consultations with the general practitioner and hospitalization, while dental care is almost entirely covered. The participation for pharmaceutical products is €2.50.
Other categories of the population enjoy medical services at reduced prices:
- People over the age of 70 and children under the age of 6 who are directly awarded a GP visit card, which allows them to pay no fees on visits to the general practitioner.
- Pregnant women and people with chronic diseases who are covered by the Long-Term Illness scheme and the Maternity and Infant Care scheme
Limited eligibility: no access to the medical card or GP visit card
For all other people who do not have the medical card, this is called partial eligibility. Under this system, you will have to pay almost all of your health expenses. In this case, Irish citizens use complementary health insurance or private health insurance as an additional solution.
Visits to the general practitioner will be at your expense, a consultation costing on average about fifty euros. With regard to pharmaceutical care and medicines, the coverage threshold is set at €144 per month.
Hospital care in public institutions (including emergencies) is subject to a single lump sum of €100. For hospitalization in a common room, the participation is 80 € per night (with capping of 800 € per year). The medical follow-up is then done at no additional cost.
Finally, dental care is probably the most important item of expenditure because no reimbursement will be made.
- For information, for a general medical consultation, you will have to pay an average of 50€, while the cost for a consultation with a specialist doctor will be about 150€.
What steps to register with the Irish health system
Registration for expatriates is done at one of the country’s HSE Local Health Offices. You will receive the equivalent of a social security number, the PPS number, which will be essential for you to work in Ireland and give you access to social protection and therefore to public health.
Good to know:
Victim on May 14, 2021 of the most serious ransomware cyberattack in its history, the HSE is slowly recovering from this threat. The computer attack slowed down the operation of some services and consultations for several weeks, causing long delays in the follow-up of patients whose records had been inaccessible. In some regions, the number of consultations has dropped by 80%. If you plan to move to Ireland in the near future, do not hesitate to ask local residents or expatriates on site about current waiting times.
What about Northern Ireland?
Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom along with England, Scotland and Wales. It therefore does not share the same health system as the Republic of Ireland. Public health services are managed by Health and Social Care (HSC). It works similarly to the NHS. For more information on Northern Ireland’s healthcare system, visit the HSC website.
Foyer Global Health, your best health insurance solution in Ireland
When you arrive in Ireland, you will not be covered by the public health system. And if you are not eligible for the medical card, you will face medical expenses that can reach significant sums. Finding health insurance before you move internationally is therefore highly recommended if you want to live in Ireland.
Foyer Global Health helps you before you leave to choose the health coverage that suits your needs in Ireland. Thanks to us, you are covered regardless of the healthcare facility or doctor you visit, and for all your healthcare costs in Ireland and abroad within the limits of your insurance policy. No complementary health will be necessary since our insurance is effective from the first euro.
Thus, by making the choice to be insured with Foyer Global Health:
- You will benefit from international health coverage (Ireland, rest of the world and country of origin) with coverage of costs related to Covid-19.
- You will have access to all the advantages of an expatriate insurance regardless of the choice of your plan: repatriation, evacuation, multilingual assistance 24/7, digitized procedures for your reimbursements
- We will give you all our expert advice to ensure your health in Ireland.
Our teams are at your disposal to inform you, do not hesitate to contact us by email or WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal!