Income disparity restricts access to Ireland’s private healthcare


Hard-pressed families on middle incomes are at risk of being even worse off than those who qualify for a medical card as a result.

The gulf between the health of rich and poor in Ireland is more pronounced when compared with several other western European countries.

When it comes to how people from different incomes view their well-being, the wealthier segments in Ireland are 21.5% healthier than lower socio-economic groups.

A report from the Think-tank for Action on Social Change, and the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, highlights the negative impact of Ireland's two-tier health system, with those who can pay having faster access to treatments.

Ireland remains unique in the EU as the only western European country not to have universal health cover for primary care.  The report recommends that the country should introduce universal health insurance as a matter of urgency as a targeted and appropriate response to the health challenges being experienced by people in the health twilight zone.

The level of out-of-pocket expenses people must pay in Ireland to access health care is unusual when compared with other countries in Europe.

Universal healthcare, where people are treated according to need rather than ability to pay, was first promised in 2011. Seven years on, it also shapes the foundation of Sláintecare, the cross-party plan for the future of the health service.

People with private health insurance in Ireland have a much better chance of getting the health services they need, and getting them quickly.



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