Have you heard about the public hospital bed charges mentioned in the news recently? If you are a health insurance customer we, at McCarthy Insurance Group, believe it is important that you understand what this means for you.

Today, if you are admitted to a public hospital through A&E, as a person with Private Health Insurance, you will be asked to sign a Private Insurance Patient form. By signing this form you waive your rights to public treatment in a public hospital. This means that you, through your health insurer, will be charged €813 per day compared to the standard €80 per day had you not signed the form. This higher charge is now applied even if you are treated on a trolley or in a public ward.

Know your Rights

You are already entitled to treatment in a public hospital through your normal tax payments. Your health insurer will cover the cost of your stay in a public hospital in line with the cover you have on your plan, regardless of the amount you are charged. However you should be aware that:

  • You don’t have to sign this waiver form if you don’t want to. Unless you are guaranteed a private or semi-private room, your treatment will be exactly the same.
  • If you sign the form, you are essentially paying twice for your stay in a public hospital, once through general taxation and again through your private health insurance. We believe this is double taxation.
  • This practice has increased the cost of health insurance by an additional €200 million a year and these increased claims costs have a direct impact on the premium you pay!

The choice is always yours to sign or not sign. However, by explaining this to you we hope you will be more informed about your rights as a taxpayer and consumer and also that you understand the impact this higher public hospital bed charge has on the cost of your health insurance cover.