Fianna Fáil TD for Galway West Éamon Ó Cuív TD has strongly advised people who hold private health insurance to ensure that they are not over-charged for services when attending a public hospital.
It has recently been reported that many private health insurance holders who attend a public hospital for treatment are asked to sign a waiver form which removes their automatic right to public care. This results in a €80 per night charge being imposed on the patient, while their insurance company is charged €800 per night.
Deputy Ó Cuív said, “It’s very important for patients who are asked to sign this waiver form to know what exact services they will receive when they do so. In many cases people are not receiving any additional service above and beyond what they are already entitled to as a public patient. Accordingly signing the waiver form is only leading to additional unnecessary costs.
“One of the direct results of this policy is that people with private health insurance are experiencing sudden increases in the costs of their premiums as the HSE is billing insurance companies for expensive services, even though these services haven’t actually been delivered.
“When people are asked to sign a waiver form while attending a public hospital they should ask for what exact extra services and benefits they will receive for doing so. In many cases it may be worthwhile to sign the waiver, but if no additional benefits can be determined then serious consideration should be given as to whether it is wise to sign away your rights as a public patient.”