Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Consumer watch: A new option for Irish healthcare

Consumer watch

New model for healthcare

According to the Irish Independent, public healthcare patients without health insurance may be able to access a form of pay as you go healthcare in the near future. Letsbuyhealthcare launched its services on September 10th, aiming to provide faster and more affordable access to healthcare in Ireland.

The company isn’t a healthcare provider itself, but rather negotiates with private hospitals on behalf of its members to secure low fees. “Patients who need a once-off procedure and do not want to tie themselves with ongoing private health insurance payments may be attracted to the new scheme,” Eilish O’Regan notes.

Registration for patients is free (you must have seen a GP), and Letsbuyhealthcare makes its money through a percentage commission payable by the patient.

“Letsbuyhealthcare advise you that €549.20 is the price for your treatment in ‘ABC’ Private Hospital on a particular date,” the company says as an example. “After accepting this price and indicating a desire to proceed, you pay the commission amount of €49.20 to Letsbuyhealthcare and in return, you receive your Treatment Identification Number (TIN). You then pay €500 to ABC Private Hospital in accordance with their procedures, having [provided] them with the TIN. This payment is normally collected when attending the hospital.”

Budget 2018

Elsewhere, looks ahead to the impending Budget, discussing some of the details we already know and surmising as to what else we can expect from Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. The State pension is likely to increase, as is Government spending on social housing.

And while ‘low and middle-income earners’ should get some relief via tax band changes, if you were expecting a little windfall in terms of significant tax cuts, you may be disappointed. “It won’t be a giveaway budget. The government will have just €300 million available for new tax cuts and spending increases next year,” writes Christina Finn.

Unravelling the medical card

Medical cards bring with them quite a few handy benefits, such as free GP care, cheaper prescription medicine, and a maternity cash grant of €10.16 when your child is born.

According to The Irish Times‘ Fiona Reddan, almost have of the population is entitled to the use of a medical card. Reddan examines how access to a medical card could impact your finances, and how can you discover whether you’re eligible.

When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.