On August 8th 2018 The National Treatment Purchase Fund published some worrying statistics regarding waiting periods in public hospitals. Fianna Fails research shows that almost 1 million Irish people[i] are on various health waiting lists as at the end of June 2018. Perhaps the most worrying aspect is the length of time some patients have been waiting to receive treatment in a public hospital setting. Across various specialities and treatment types, 42% of adults awaiting treatment in a public hospital have been waiting over 6 months for an in-patient / day case procedure while 17% have been waiting over 1 year for treatment. The average waiting time for treatment for someone with private medical insurance for an in-patient procedure is measured in numbers of days and weeks, not months and years. [ii]

Many people want greater choice and control when it comes to their health and this is perhaps the primary driver as to why 2.17 million Irish people now hold private medical insurance, the highest number insured since 2010[iii].  Health insurance allows members speedier access to treatments – this is especially true in relation to elective procedures. Private health insurance offers members the choice of hospital they would like to attend as well as their choice of consultant depending on the plan they have chosen. Access to diagnostic tests is a much more time efficient process when using health insurance. With 21% (3,899 patients) of people waiting 6 months or more on the public system for an Endoscopy[iv], those with private medical insurance could be able to access this treatment inside of 10 working days in most cases. [v]

For those waiting on an ophthalmic procedure which could be something as simple as cataract surgery, 1 in 4 people in Ireland have been waiting over 9 months, whilst 13% of patients have been waiting over 1 year for this treatment[vi]. Patients with private medical insurance can have this procedure completed in a private hospital setting in the space of 2 weeks[vii]. This trend is also true for those waiting for orthopaedic treatment such as a hip or knee operation, with 25% of patients waiting over 9 months for treatment and 16% of patients waiting over 1 year for a procedure[viii]. Quality of life often deteriorates given the length of waiting times for orthopaedic procedures which can lead to further health concerns. Private medical insurance offers the opportunity to have these procedures completed in a private hospital within a much shorter period, potentially just 1 month.

The same is true of out-patient scans. On average those reliant on the public system will have to wait an average of 22 weeks to access an MRI scan when referred by their GP, those with private health insurance will wait an average of 5 days for such a scan. For CT scans of the brain, chest or abdomen (used to detect cancerous cells) public patients wait an average of 55 days, compared with just 6 days for those paying privately[ix].

Whilst health insurance can be confusing and may appear to be expensive Cornmarket are here to help. We can guide you through the multitude of plans to ensure you and your family are on the most suitable policy for your needs. Plans providing cover for public and private hospitals are available from €733 per adult which works out at just €2 a day[x].

As Ireland’s largest health insurance broker, Cornmarket can help to find you the right Health Insurance plan. Call us today on (01) 420 0999.

Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A member of the Irish Life Group Ltd. which is part of the Great-West Lifeco Group of companies. Telephone calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.

Irish Life Health dac is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Cornmarket cannot be held responsible for information contained in external websites.

[i] https://www.newstalk.com/Fianna-Fail-claim-national-scandal-with-almost-one-million-people-on-waiting-lists

[ii] http://www.ntpf.ie/home/inpatient.htm

[iii] https://www.hia.ie/publication/annual-reports-accounts

[iv] http://www.ntpf.ie/home/pdf//2018/06/nationalnumbers/in-patient/National04.pdf

[v] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/public-patients-wait-up-to-25-times-longer-for-cancer-tests-1.2624303

[vi] http://www.ntpf.ie/home/pdf//2018/06/specialities/in-patient/1700.pdf

[vii] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/public-patients-wait-up-to-25-times-longer-for-cancer-tests-1.2624303

[viii] http://www.ntpf.ie/home/pdf//2018/06/specialities/in-patient/1800.pdf

[ix] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/public-patients-wait-up-to-25-times-longer-for-cancer-tests-1.2624303

[x] Irish Life Health’s BeneFit 1 plan costing €732.40 – source Health Insurance Authority (www.hia.ie)