independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Cost of staying healthy enough to make you ill

Health insurance: costs ever rising

The price of keeping well was never more expensive – but where does our out-of-pocket spending on health needs go?

Top of the list is private health insurance, followed by drugs bills and then fees paid out to various medical specialists and therapists.

A recent breakdown of our annual household spending on health was given in a parliamentary reply to Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghin O Caolain.

* Private health insurance €1.67bn

* Prescribed medication €626m.

* Medical services (physiotherapist, orthodontist, consultant, etc) €335m.

* Dentist €315m.

* Doctor (not consultant) €249m.

* Hospital charges (net of insurance refunds) €112m.

* Spectacles and lenses €103m.

* Services of private medical auxiliaries (eg chiropodist) €52m.

* Optician €28m.

* Other medical products (plasters, bandages, etc) €17m.

* Therapeutic equipment – non optical items (eg wheelchair) €8m.

* Services of medical analysis labs €5m.

* Accessories and repairs to spectacles and lenses €3m.

* Other non-hospital services €3m.

* Prescription charges for medical card holders amounted to €27.6m, €29.7m and €85.0m for 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Estimated annual expenditure is based on grossing up the survey data for the full year and the total population.

The CSO and the Department of Health are currently co-operating on a major initiative to produce more detailed annual public and private health expenditure data for Ireland based on the System of Health. It is expected that full reporting based will be available in 2016.

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