Q. I am thinking of taking out dental cover for my children who will need orthodontic treatment in the future. I am looking at both the HSF Health Plan and the DeCare Dental plan, but we may have the treatment carried out in the north of Ireland. Will this be covered?
A. Both of these providers cover eligible costs irrespective of whether the treatment is carried out in this State or Northern Ireland, according to broker Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie.
His advice would be to contact both providers (DeCare on 1890 13 00 17 and HSF on 1890 121 121) and explain what type of treatment will be necessary, the likely cost and when or where it will be done.
They will explain how much will be covered, any waiting periods that may apply and how you make your claim.
Once you have the facts, you can then decide whether it makes financial sense to join.
Mr Goode said both providers cover all types of dental treatment such as routine costs, check-ups, major treatments such as root canals and crowns, whereas standard health insurance will only contribute towards the cost of routine dental treatment and check-ups.
Q. I lost my job in March due to site closures and have been on the PUP since. I work in construction and would earn around €35,000 a year. I saw recently that workers will have to pay tax on their Covid payments at the end of year.
I thought the payment came tax-free like the dole so I was surprised to hear this. I'm back at work since last week and have received my last payment.
Will I end up paying extra tax this year and how much is likely?
A. There are many taxpayers out there for whom the news of an accumulating tax liability on their pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) has come as a shock.
However, the degree to which workers will be affected varies, and any liability due on Covid-19 payments will depend hugely on the individual's personal circumstances, according to the consumer tax manager with Taxback.com, Marian Ryan.
This includes a person's marital status, tax credit entitlements and amount, and sources of income for the year when it comes to assessment.
She ran some numbers. Based on the information provided and on a salary of €35,000, a person in receipt of the Covid PUP for 14 weeks from March 16 until June 22 would see a reduction in net pay of €387.47 and an underpayment of PAYE tax of €980. There will be a USC underpayment of €220.50. So, the total financial impact would amount to €1,587.97.
Ms Ryan said you should note that other factors should be considered when looking at your overall tax liability for the year.
You might have some tax reliefs owed to you such as medical expense relief, so your underpayment may well be less, she said.
You should take this opportunity to look into what tax refunds you could be due.
If you have never claimed before it's worth knowing you can go back as far as four years to make claims.
She said you could be pleasantly surprised to learn that you have money coming to you from the tax authority. Taxback.com's average refund for a PAYE worker is €1,076, Ms Ryan pointed out.
Q. I have a basic health insurance policy covering public hospitals only. I'm 54 years old and I now realise this cover is very limited. Can you recommend good cover for both public and private hospitals that is under €1,000 per adult?
A. It is recommended to take out a policy that covers both public and private hospitals to ensure that you will be well covered in the event of any illness requiring in-patient or day-case treatment, according to broker Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie.
He said you should consider the following mid-level plans which offer a good standard of cover and are within your budget: Irish Life Health Benefit Plan at €965, Laya Essential Health 300 at €997 and the VHI One Plan 250 at €926.
Whenever you are upgrading cover, be aware of the upgrade rule which means the insurers can restrict your cover for any existing conditions to your previous 'basic' plan for a further two years, Mr Goode said.
Any new health conditions arising after the plan change will be assessed under the new cover, he said.
Both HSF and DeCentral cover eligible costs irrespective of whether the treatment is carried out in this State or in Northern Ireland.
There are many taxpayers out there for whom the news of accumulating tax liability on their pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) has come as a shock.