Living Abroad, Love Ireland

Irish Healthcare

January 30, 2014
Irish Health Service Executive

Irish Health Service Executive


The King ended up in hospital not long ago….nothing too incredibly serious but still there was a sense of ‘here we go again.’

Technically we were private patients which didn’t mean much in our current situation.

For anyone thinking of moving to Ireland it’s important to know that there is in essence a two tier health system. For the most part healthcare is ‘free’ and paid for by the government. But keep in mind how hefty a healthcare bill it must be to pay for the wellbeing of 4 million people. Many (who can afford it) opt to buy private health insurance which depending on cover offers access to private hospitals or private beds in public hospitals.

As an American I can not bring myself to not have health insurance. This year we paid just under 2,800 euro for our private insurance. Of course to me this is reasonable considering where I come from. But the truth is Irish people are leaving the private healthcare system at the rate of about 5,000 per month because cosst continue to rise. Most employers do not contribute to private insurance…sure why would they when they pay taxes into the public health care system?

I wholeheartedly believe healthcare should be available to all, however, I don’t really think social healthcare works without a massive huge price tag.

Maybe the Swiss have it right but they pay considerable taxes & have a relatively small population (all of whom are socially expected to work and pay their share of taxes).

That said I had two babies with really good healthcare for absolutely free. I could have opted to pay additional to access private maternity care….after much consideration we opted to go the public route. This is a personal decision each couple makes.

In 2012, had I not had private health insurance I would have waited at least 6/9 months to have my gallbladder out.

Princess M is currently on a 2 yr waiting list for her potential fish allergy going the private route she will be seen in under 6 months.

There are many discrepancies between private and public health care in Ireland. Over the course of 10 years here I have availed of both. We are lucky that we can afford to supplement a strained public healthcare system with our private insurance.

Having seen hospital and doctors bills from the US and Ireland the discrepancy amazes me. In 2012 my private insurance paid around 6,000 euro all in for my gallbladder surgery….including anaesthetic and a 4 day hospital stay. When the summary for my mother’s recent week-long stay in a US hospital came it was nearly FIVE times that price…for no surgery and no anestetic. I still can’t fathom the difference.

I believe healthcare should certainly be affordable for all in every country. Not necessarily free but affordable and I guess I am thankful that relatively speaking it is affordable here in Ireland.


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