'I realised I was paying too high a premium for my children'
Sharon O'Reilly and her family are among the many households around the country who have been caught out by the fast-rising costs of routine medical expenses.
"We have definitely underestimated the cost of our medical care," says Sharon, who recently underwent a couple of very short consultations that set her back €100.
However, she pays about €30 a month for her HSF Health Plan, which covered half the cost of those expensive consultations.
But Sharon, who lives in Cavan, recently managed to make big savings in the family's main health insurance cover.
"About 18 months ago I reviewed my private health insurance plan. I realised I was paying too high of a premium for my children when there was no need. As there is no private children's hospital in Ireland I felt there was really no need to be paying such a high premium, therefore I reduced their plan."
She estimates that she has saved up to €300 by downgrading the children's plan, but has also saved on the cost of at least one GP visit by talking to a doctor free of charge on the phone using the GP line provided by HSF.
Sharon also travels to Northern Ireland for her dental treatment. "It's proven to be cheaper while the quality of the work remains the same as here as in the South."
Sharon's quest for more savings won't stop there. "I had not thought about requesting generic branded prescriptions before, but that's about to change."