Everyone, regardless of nationality, who is accepted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) as a resident in Ireland. Everyone is entitled to in-patient and out-patient services in publicly funded hospitals. Certain visitors to Ireland are also entitled to public health services, for example, people covered under EU Regulations.
You may have to pay some hospital charges, unless you have a medical card. There are daily in-patient charges and some long-term stay charges.
If you are not resident in Ireland and you do not belong to any of the groups that are entitled to free services, you have to pay the full economic cost of the bed, whether it is a public bed or a private bed. You also have to pay the consultant.
Ireland offers both private and public health services:
You are covered by public health services if you are living in Ireland and have lived here, or intend to live here, for at least one year. This is called being ordinarily resident in Ireland. Find out more on: Citizensinformation.ie
General Practitioners (GPs) are family doctors. A GP is often the first doctor people see about a health problem. GPs are usually part of the private healthcare system and so you will usually need to pay charges when you see a GP. You can see a GP without being charged for the visit if you have a medical card or a GP Visit Card.
GPs provide referrals to more specialised doctors called consultants. You cannot see a consultant for the first time without a referral from a GP.
Some GPs will also call to your home if you are sick. A number of GPs in an area will arrange to make a service available at night or at the weekend.
To visit a consultant (medical specialist) you must be referred by a GP. As a public patient, you do not have to pay for the consultant's services and you do not get to choose your consultant. In many areas, there are waiting lists for non-emergency services.
If you visit an emergency department without being referred by a GP there is a set charge. However, if you choose to be referred to a consultant as a private patient, you pay for the consultant's services.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) provides some free dental treatment to certain citizens through the public health service. Services are provided by dentists employed by Local Health Offices and by private dentists who have contracts with the HSE to provide certain services. If you do not qualify for HSE services, then you may be treated by a private dental practitioner.
Dentists must display private fees in a place where patients can view them before consultation. A single fee must apply for some procedures while the fees for others may be shown as a range, with a minimum and maximum clearly stated. Where a range of fees applies, it is not permitted to set a minimum price only.
The Dental Council has produced a Code of Practice relating to: Display of Private Fees in Dental Practices (pdf).
If you are an EU/EEA national travelling or staying temporarily in another state of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you are entitled to receive medical care if you become ill or have an accident. If you are a student or a seconded worker, or if you are entitled to a social security pension in that state, you will be entitled to health care beyond the immediate treatment.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the E111 form and a number of other 'E' forms including the E128, making it easier for you to get medical care quickly and easily. It is evidence that you are part of a health insurance scheme administered by another state in the EEA/Switzerland. To obtain healthcare with the Card, you can go to the nearest public system doctor, public hospital, or other public treatment centre and present your Card.
Public health care systems vary from country to country, and few countries pay the full cost of health care for holders of the Card, so there may be some element of co-payment for the services you receive.
Currently, the EEA comprises the 28 member states of the European Union together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Your European Health Insurance Card is valid for use throughout any of these countries and in Switzerland.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Dublin is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Ireland. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Ireland: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Ireland, visit our partner APRIL International