Make sure you’ve considered the following before you buy health insurance.

1. What hospitals do you need access to?

There are three types of hospitals in Ireland. Public hospitals (like Beaumount, Cappagh Orthopaedic, Cork University Hospital). Private hospitals (Bons Secours, St Vincent's Private, Galway Clinic) and hi-tech hospitals (Mater Private, Blackrock Clinic).

The most popular plans on the market cover both public and private hospitals, and may also give access to 'hi-techs', for listed procedures like cardiac and neurological.

2.What type of hospital room do you need? (private, or semi-private)?

All plans include cover for a semi-private room in a public hospital. The more expensive plans cover you for a private room in a hi-tech hospital. Most people choose a plan covering them for treatment in a semi-private room in private hospitals.

3. What size of excess should I take on?

Most health insurance plans now carry an excess for private hospital admissions. Before purchasing cover ask yourself what size of excess you are willing to accept – because this is the first part of the claim you’ll need to pay yourself.

4. Do you want to be able to claim back on everyday medical expenses?

Some plans let you claim back on visits to everyday practitioners like GPs, physiotherapists, and dentists, plus specialist consultants and alternative practitioners. If you visit any of these regularly it makes financial sense to choose a plan which covers these.