Public hospital bed charges – what does it all mean?
In 2014 the Government changed the way public hospitals charge health insurers. Previously your health insurer was only charged a higher rate than that charged to the general public if you were accommodated in a semi-private or private room. Now, health insurance customers can be charged over 10 times the normal rate regardless of whether they received semi-private / private accommodation or not.
What do I need to know?
If you are admitted to a public hospital through A&E, you will be asked to sign a Private Insurance Patient form. By signing this form you waive your rights to public treatment in a public hospital. Remember, unless you can be guaranteed a private or semi-private room, you have the right to say no and will get exactly the same treatment.
You will be charged, through your health insurer, €813 per day.
You will be charged, through your health insurer, €80 per day.
What's the impact?
62% of people are unaware that private patients can be charged over ten times the public rate for the same treatment.
By signing the private insurance the patient form your health insurer will be charged €813 per night compared to €80 for exactly the same treatment
Private Insurance Patient form: Before you sign, ask - "Can I be guaranteed a private or semi-private room?"
There is no obligation to sign
You don't have to sign this waiver form if you don't want to. Unless you can be guaranteed a private or semi-private room, your treatment will be exactly the same. Your treatment in the public hospital will follow a standard pathway of care, under the care of a hospital consultant but not necessarily by a consultant who practices privately in a public hospital.
If you do sign this form, you will be considered a private patient but you are still not guaranteed a private or semi-private room. Your treatment will follow a standard pathway of care under a hospital consultant who practices privately in a public hospital.
You are paying twice
If you sign the form, you are essentially paying twice for your stay in a public hospital, once through general taxation and again through your private health insurance. We believe this is double taxation.
Additional costs for Health Insurance Industry
It is estimated that this initiative now costs the Health Insurance €200 million a year.
The choice is always yours to sign or not to sign. However, we are hoping you will be more informed about your rights as a consumer and also the impact the higher public bed night charge ultimately has on you. Read More on the Insurance Ireland site.