Ireland - Your Guide to A New Beginning

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If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss national and are travelling or staying in Ireland you are entitled to receive free maintenance and treatment in public beds in Health Service Executive (HSE) and voluntary hospitals should you become ill or have an accident.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) makes it easier for you to get medical care quickly and easily. It is evidence that you are part of a health insurance scheme administered by another state in the EU/EEA or Switzerland.
Out-patient services in public hospitals are also free of charge but some people may have to pay an initial charge if they have not been referred by a Doctor (GP-General Practitioner). If you are in a private hospital or in a private bed in a public hospital, you must pay for both maintenance and treatment. If you have private health insurance may cover some or all of the costs.

For comprehensive information on hospital services in Ireland have a look at

Accident and Emergency / Casualty

Most general hospitals and some specialist hospitals have accident and emergency or casualty departments which patients may attend without being referred by a GP. If you attend without a GP referral, you may be charged. However, if you have to return for further visits in relation to the same illness or accident, you do not have to pay the charge again.

Free healthcare - Medical Cards

A medical card issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland enables the bearer to receive certain health services free of charge. If your Income is below a certain level you may be entitled to free healthcare (a Medical Card). This can be checked at your local Health Service Executive office. If you are issued with a medical card, the card would normally cover you and your dependent spouse and child dependants. Details of your local Health Services Executive office can be found in your local Telephone Directory or on

Private Health Insurance

There are a number of providers of private health insurance in Ireland.
Private health Insurance companies
Last modified:10/02/2016