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Is healthcare free in Ireland?

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Access to an effective healthcare system is significant for the country’s citizens. Functional and public-funded healthcare helps citizens with easy access to routine check-ups without bearing a huge debt. Healthcare is the fundamental right of human beings and denying the same can lead to many repercussions that are not just limited to the individuals. It can interfere with a country’s development and economy. Providing an adequate system of healthcare will increase the safety of citizens, thus, contributing to building a safe nation.

Let’s explore the healthcare system in Ireland. Is healthcare free in Ireland? Is it government-funded? Are there any specific policies devoted to the same?

Healthcare system in Ireland

Ireland’s healthcare system is effective and efficient in providing affordable services to its citizens. Most of the healthcare is funded by the government, and also there is an expansion in providing good private healthcare services as well. The public healthcare system is managed by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and is funded by the Irish government. Ireland has a high budget allocation for its hospitals and ambulatory health care providers. Public healthcare services can be accessed by individuals who are residents of the country for at least a year. The fees structure for public healthcare services is quite complex, as it is only eligible for few individuals and is not entirely free.

Who can access healthcare services?

The public healthcare services are accessible to people who have lived in the country as residents for a year or more. The access to public healthcare services is based on the eligibility criteria which is divided into two categories- full eligibility or limited eligibility.

Category 1 -Full Eligibility

  •  Category 1 involves people who have been issued medical cards. The benefit of having medical cards is access to a wide range of health services and medicines free of charge.

Category 2Limited Eligibility

  • It involves individuals who do not hold medical cards. These individuals can access few services free of charge and other services at reduced or affordable costs.

Is healthcare free in Ireland?

  • Healthcare services are not entirely free in Ireland. Most services included in public healthcare are either free or are provided at subsidized rates.
  • The free healthcare services depend on what section of society you belong to based on financial divisions.
  • People belonging to lower-income backgrounds are eligible for medical cards and can avail the free costs benefits on most of the health services.

Eligibility to qualify for Medical Cards & Free Health Care

  • An individual can avail of this facility if he/she is living alone and earns € 184 per week. 
  • A person is automatically qualified for GP visit cards if he/she is over 70 years or under 6 years.

Health Care for others who do not qualify for Medical Cards

  • Those who do not qualify among the mentioned categories can avail of public healthcare services at affordable prices, or, can also benefit from private healthcare services which offer a variety of insurance schemes.
  • A person on average in Ireland ends up spending £497 per year from his/her pocket for healthcare expenditure.

 Thus, healthcare services are not entirely free in Ireland, but you can avail healthcare benefits at affordable prices.

For more details about healthcare in Ireland  click here.

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