If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national and are travelling or staying in Ireland you are entitled to receive free maintenance and treatment in public beds in Health Service Executive (HSE) and voluntary hospitals should you become ill or have an accident.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) makes 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 EU/EEA or Switzerland
Out-patient services in public hospitals are also free of charge but some people may have to pay an initial charge if they have not been referred by a doctor (GP – General Practitioner). If you are in a private hospital or in a private bed in a public hospital, you must pay for both maintenance and treatment. If you have private health insurance this may cover some or all of the costs.
For comprehensive information on hospital services in Ireland have a look at www.citizensinformation.ie
Visiting a doctor
A visit to a General Practitioner will cost approximately €50-€60. The GP may then refer you to a specialist. Visits to specialists typically cost at least €120.
Because public healthcare provision is limited, it is highly advisable to obtain private healthcare in Ireland. Private healthcare is available to anyone provided they can pay for it or are covered by an appropriate health insurance scheme. Some employers offer private healthcare as part of their employment offer. The main private insurers are:
These companies also offer dental insurance. If you take out private healthcare you will be entitled to tax relief on it at the standard rate. Most people who take out private healthcare pay for it on a monthly basis to spread the cost over the year.
Accident & emergency
Most general hospitals and some specialist hospitals have accident and emergency or casualty departments which patients may attend without being referred by a GP. If you attend without a GP referral, you may be charged. However, if you have to return for further visits in relation to the same illness or accident, you do not have to pay the charge again.