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Please Help - Health Insurance Private vs. Public Hospital

  • 31-08-2017 9:58am
    Registered Users Posts: 532 ✭✭✭ jmcc99_98

    My head is wrecked, going through the annual renewal of the Health Insurance. It is for two adults and 3 kids under 18. I am getting varying quotes and going through them.

    One thing that I cant work out and cant seem to get a straight answer to is whether I should get cover for private hospitals?

    My main concern is that if me or any of my family need medical attention or need to have a procedure done that we have quick access, I dont really care whether it is in private or public hospitals. I dont believe you get any better treatment in one over the other.

    Is the only difference between a private and public hospital the quality of the accommodation etc. Or if by opting out of private hospital cover am I potentially missing out on something more important??


  • Administrators, Business & Finance Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 16,767 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Toots

    Private hospitals have shorter waiting lists for procedures. To give you an example, my little boy needed a surgical procedure done. We were referred to Crumlin hospital, which is public, and after a few weeks, got a letter with an appointment date 5 months away. That was just for the initial consultation, don't know how long the wait for the actual surgery would have been. Same day I got the letter, I rang the Beacon, which is private, they told me to ring my GP and have him fax a referral. He did, and I got a call back that afternoon with an appointment to meet the consultant in 2 days time. Met the consultant on a Thursday, and the surgery was done the following Monday.

    I've had my little boy in Crumlin for other things, and in terms of quality of care, it was just as good as the Beacon. The main difference was the waiting time. Our health insurance covered the day procedure fully, and we had to pay E150 for the first meeting with the consultant and E100 for the follow up 2 weeks after the operation. The health insurance reimbursed most of that, so I think in total our out-of-pocket expenses were something like E45.

    I've been in private hospitals and public before, and yes the accommodation is obviously nicer in the private ones, but if you're only in for a day case or one night, it's not a huge deal. It's personal preference, but after the experience we had with waiting lists, I'd definitely keep the cover for private hospitals if you can afford it. I think it's definitely worth the money.