If you're visiting or moving to Ireland, the first question you ought to ask is if you'll be eligible to access the healthcare system. And the answer is a big fat no. At least, not until you become an official citizen or a legal resident of the country. Only then will you be able to avail of Ireland's free health services. If you’re from a fellow EU nation, however, you can still get access to healthcare here. Most especially if your own insurance plan includes a medical visit to Ireland, which is more common than you might think.
Unfortunately, tourists don't get access to Ireland's healthcare system. It's not as if the moment you get an Irish visa that you also get to be part of the system. That's not how it works. When you get here, you'll have to pay the full price on all medical services offered in the country. And they can get pretty pricey as well. While getting private insurance might still be on the table, only handful of companies offer plans specifically for non-residents. Your best bet as a tourist when it comes to healthcare in Ireland is to get a travel medical plan, especially from international insurers such as Allianz Care of Cignal Global.
When you do get access to Ireland's healthcare, it's best to get a Medical Card. This document serves as proof of your right to free medical care as well as subsidized rates on a number of services. However, not all people in Ireland are eligible for one. They're mostly reserved for people who don't earn as much and have trouble paying for medical costs. As a result, the eligibility for a Medical Card is determined by one's financial circumstances and it differs with each personal situation. A person's salary, marital status, number of dependents, mortgage payments, and the like are taken into account.
Medical costs are often overlooked when it comes to general living costs in Ireland. Mostly because public healthcare is free in the country. But there are instances in which you still have to pay for certain medical facilities and health services. For example, if your doctor referred you to an emergency room, your visit will be free. But if now and you simply went to one without a referral, the general cost would be €100.00. Going to the doctor costs around €50.00 per visit and spending a night in the hospital without a Medical card normally costs €80.00.
Getting private insurance has become a popular option for many people in Ireland. This is because the free public healthcare here has its limits, most especially for those with specific conditions and illnesses. Still, with a common fee of €1,925.00 per person, why would people shell out this kind of money for health coverage? For one thing, private insurance plans often connect you to the best hospitals in the country. It also grants prioritization, allowing you to "cut in line," so to speak. Notably, the most popular private insurance companies in Ireland are Irish Life Health, HSF, VHI Healthcare, and Laya Healthcare.
As with other countries, Ireland's emergency services are highly efficient and very helpful. All you have to do is dial 112 or 999 and an ambulance will be sent to you right away. Just remember the postcode of where you are at the moment so it'd be easier for ambulance to reach you in no time. And the good news is this service is also free, even for tourists. It's the visit to the emergency room that will require payment. Consequently if you don't have a plan or access to public healthcare here, you' ll be faced with an incredibly high bill.
Ireland operates on a universal healthcare system, meaning all citizens and residents of the country gets access to it. Though with that said, private insurance has become a very popular alternative for many people here.
One of the keys to staying healthy here is to pick out a luxurious Irish rental as your home. They're mostly located in the safer parts of the cities of the country.