The Public Beds Re-designation charge
In January 2014 the Government introduced new legislation for privately insured patients admitted into public hospitals through A&E which has resulted in those with health insurance being charged up to 10 times the cost of a hospital bed, while receiving the exact same treatment as a public patient.
- Patients who are admitted into public hospitals through A&E departments are being asked to sign a waiver which allows the hospital admit that member as a private patient rather than a public patient.
- We appreciate that if you are in hospital, you are unwell and most likely stressed and anxious – why wouldn’t you sign the waiver to try to get the best service possible? What difference does it make to you if your insurer is charged more? Is that not why you have your insurance in the first place?
- The three main impacts for you are:
- 1) There are no additional medical benefits available to a member who is admitted as a private patient into the public system in an emergency situation. Members admitted to public hospitals through A&E do not get access to any additional services (i.e. a private room, the choice of a consultant etc) as a result of signing the waiver.
If you are admitted through A&E you are there on an emergency unplanned basis and you will receive the exact same services and procedures as a public patient would on a needs basis. Every resident in Ireland is entitled to public hospital cover as a public patient.
- 2) These unfair charges are pushing the cost of insurance premiums up. Since the introduction of the charge there has been a significant increase in the number and cost of public hospital beds claims. Between 2013 and 2016, we have experienced a 37 per cent increase in the cost of claims from public hospitals, and a corresponding 40 per cent increase in the volume of claims from public hospitals. As a company we cannot absorb these significant increases – they are rising to an unsustainable level – and claims costs are unfortunately passed on to members through increased premiums.
- 3) The manner in which the Private Insurance Patient Form is being presented also causes great concern. We continue to receive direct feedback from members who claim to have been put under pressure to sign the waiver form on admission in emergency situations, and in some cases members have retrospectively received the waiver form by post following discharge from hospital.
- We encourage any member with concerns regarding pressure being put on them in Public Hospitals to sign a waiver form, to contact us immediately.
What you need to know when visiting A&E