Health insurance policies have evolved in recent years. Having private medical insurance 10 years ago simply meant that you were covered for treatment in a particular hospital and the cost of a procedure or scan would be covered by your insurer.
But this has changed. Many health insurance plans now cover you for visits to everyday medical practitioners like GPs, dentists, physiotherapists, and specialist consultants. Even acupuncture and reiki are covered under some plans.
To see if you’re covered for this, check the "Day to Day" or "Out-Patient" cover section on your table of benefits. If your out-patient excess is €1 or €0, you can claim back on these expenses immediately. But if your out-patient excess is over €100, it’s likely you’ll only be able to claim a small amount back.
Another change has happened online. All Irish providers now offer access to GPs and other medical professionals online – this is free on some plans. All providers now let you claim expenses back online. This is much more efficient. Instead of gathering all your receipts and sending them to your health insurer at the end of the year, you can submit these as and when you have an expense – refunds are paid within five days.
Health insurers are also now creating unique benefits for their members. These include money back on gym membership, sports massage, health screens and travel vaccinations.
Many people don’t realise that that visits to an acupuncturist, chiropractor, physical therapist or even dietitian may actually be partly covered under their private medical insurance. Recent strides have been made by private health insurers in relation to the coverage of alternative therapy means that the cost of a visit to a homeopathist or acupuncturist might be covered in the same manner as a trip to your GP.
Cover for alternative and complementary therapy however varies widely between insurers and plans. While all insurers now include good cover towards the cost of eligible alternative treatments, you need to be on the right plan. Most plans cover popular treatments such as acupuncture, osteopathy and chiropractic care. You'll also get cover on some plans for physical therapy, reflexology, and chiropody. If you are a frequent visitor to any alternative therapist you should speak to a health insurance expert to ensure you are on the right plan for your needs.
To see if your plan covers this, call one of our friendly experts on (01) 470 8093