Public beds, what are my rights?

In A&E? Don’t sign unless you’re sure.

Even if you have Irish Life Health cover, you could still be admitted to a public hospital through A&E as a public patient. If you elect to be treated privately in a public hospital;

  • You will be asked to sign a Private Insurance Patient Form.
  • If you sign, you waive your rights to public treatment in a public hospital.
  • Despite this, it’s possible you won’t receive any additional services or be accommodated in a private or semi-private room.
  • Instead you could be placed in a public ward – but still be charged over 10 times more than the standard public rate.

Your quality of medical care may not change. But the cost will.

    If you don’t sign the form:

The quality of medical care you receive won’t change. You’ll be under the care of a hospital consultant but not necessarily one who practices privately in a public hospital.

     If you do sign the form:

The treatment you would have received as a public patient will cost 10 times more.

Don’t pay twice

Your taxes go towards the care you receive as an emergency public patient. So, you would be signing away your rights to care you’ve contributed towards.

In effect, if you sign the Private Insurance Patient Form, you are being taxed twice. Once as a taxpayer and once as an Irish Life Health customer. These costs are ultimately being reflected in your health insurance premium.

Learn more about your rights as a private patient

The rights of private health insurance patients entering hospital via the public system is an important issue.

You can find out more on Insurance Ireland


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