Health

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Five key points when buying health insurance

n Wischnewski

Published 15/07/2014|02:30

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This pressure is adding to ongoing factors such as a generally ageing population, advances in medical technology and increasing incidence of chronic illness.

THERE are some key things that you keep in mind when it comes to choosing any health insurance plan.

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These points are especially important for the over 50s.

1 All plans must cover semi-private in a public hospital. It is recommended that your plan covers all public hospitals to ensure you have access to all services. For example, you may need to ensure you are covered for public hospitals specialising in orthopaedics-only such as Cappagh Hospital in Dublin.

2 Ideally, your plan will cover day-case procedures and semi-private accommodation in private hospitals such as the Hermitage Clinic in Dublin, Bon Secours in Cork or Galway Clinic.

3 It is recommended that your plan also includes at least 90pc cover for the major cardiac procedures in the high-tech hospitals such as Mater Private, Beacon Hospital and Blackrock Clinic (high-tech cardiac cover).

4 If you want to reduce your costs, it is recommended you take on a small excess which will apply per admission to private hospitals only. An excess of a claim is an amount you have to pay. An excess of between €50 and €150 is recommended, as anything higher may be prohibitive, especially if you require repeat treatments. If you know that hospital treatment is pending, opt for a low excess or none at all.

5 Do not go overboard by opting for full orthopaedic or private room cover. A private room is never guaranteed. Unless you are due to have major orthopaedic surgery in the next 24 months, think hard about this.

With over 300 different options on the market, there are plans to suit all budgets.

However, trawling through all the options is not for the faint-hearted.

Consumers should start with the Health Insurance Authority website (www.hia.ie).

But if still in doubt, it might be worth getting advice from a broker who specialises in health insurance.

Irish Independent

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