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Medical Coverage for EU Citizens in Ireland

Visitors and EU Citizens

European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) citizens living in Ireland are automatically entitled to Category One or Category Two coverage the same as any Irish citizen. Visitors from EU countries are also entitled to free urgent medical care so long as they present a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which can be obtained from their own health services before visiting Ireland. 

Visitors from the United Kingdom are even excused the necessity of having this card, so long as they obtain treatment at a public hospital or doctor participating in the General Medical Service scheme. There are 2,000 General Practitioners who are part of the scheme. A driver's license or other proof of residence in the UK is required.

There is lots more at the official European Health Insurance Card website.

A Summary

Among many other items on the European Health Insurance Card website, there is a page specifically for "visitors" to Ireland. Here's a portion of that page. I can't promise that it's as up-to-date as the EHIC's own website, so be sure to check that if you have any in-depth questions. But, I think this information is extremely useful, so I'm quoting it here.

--- From the EHIC Website (ehic.ie)---

Visitors to Ireland

Services available under EU Regulation 1408/71 to holders of the European Health Insurance Card, E111 or equivalent during a temporary stay in Ireland

How do you get treatment from a general practitioner?

  • Contact any general practitioner (GP) who is contracted to the Primary Care Reimbursement Services (PCRS) scheme. More than 2,000 doctors, representing the majority of GPs in Ireland, are contracted to the scheme
  • You can get details of PCRS doctors in your area from the local Health Office. (a list of local Health Offices and the regions they cover is attached, including all contact details)
  • If you are not sure whether the GP is a PCRS doctor, tell him or her that you are seeking treatment under EU regulations
  • General practitioners operate specified hours for surgery visits, and these vary from practice to practice
  • Telephone the GP’s surgery in your area to find out what the surgery hours are.
  • “Out-of-hours” cover is provided at other times; a telephone number for this service is usually provided on the GP’s telephone answering service
  • Treatment is provided free of charge by PCRS doctors to all those who eligible under EU regulations

How do you get treatment by a specialist?

  • If it is the clinical opinion of the GP that you require treatment by a specialist consultant, you will be given a referral letter by the GP
  • Tell the GP that you want to be treated as a public patient
  • Many consultants in Ireland see patients both publicly and privately; if you see the consultant as a private patient, you will not be covered by EU regulations
  • Treatment by consultants is provided free of charge in the public system to those eligible under EU regulations

How do you get treatment by a dentist?

  • Emergency dental treatment for the relief of pain and urgent denture repairs are available to those eligible under EU regulations from a dentist contracted to the Local Health Office. Other necessary dental treatment is provided through local Health Office clinics as well as by contracted dentists.
  • If dental treatment becomes necessary, contact the local local Health Office or health centre to get details of contracted dentists or local Health Office clinics. In emergencies, ascertain that the dentist you choose yourself is contracted to the local Health Office to provide services under the PCRS system, and tell him or her that you are seeking treatment under EU regulations.

Other services

Certain aural or optical services are available free of charge to those eligible under EU regulations. In line with the arrangements for Irish residents, you should contact the local Health Office in the first instance to access such services.

How do you get medicines?

  • Prescription medicines must be dispensed by a GP in the public system (PCRS doctor) who will use a special prescription form to indicate to the pharmacist that the medicine is to be provided free of charge

How do you get hospital treatment?

  • You can go direct to the Accident and Emergency unit of any public hospital if you need treatment of this nature
  • There is no charge for those eligible under EU regulations
  • For scheduled in-patient or out-patient treatment in the public system, you will need to be referred by a GP or specialist consultant contracted to the public system
  • In-patient and outpatient treatment in the public system is provided free of charge to those eligible under EU regulations. Treatment or accommodation as a private or semi-private patient is not covered under EU Regulations.

How do you get transport to a hospital?

  • Call 999 or 112 in case of immediate need of transport by ambulance to the nearest hospital

How do you get reimbursement in Ireland?

Ireland operates a benefit-in-kind healthcare system, so this question does not arise.

How do you arrange for dialysis or oxygen therapy before you arrive in Ireland?

To make such arrangements, the local Health Office in the relevant area should be contacted. Details are attached.

The EHIC website also provides excellent contact information for local health offices throughout Ireland.

European Union Sites:

  • European Union - Billing itself as the "Gateway to the European Union" this site comes in every official language of the EU. Everything you wanted to know about the EU. Your rights, studying within the EU, even a job site that is tied to government employment agencies throughout Europe is provided. A huge and amazing resource!

Citizens Information

The ever-useful Citizens Information site has a page about health services for visitors to Ireland. Here's where you'll find the nitty-gritty about qualifying for some of these programmes.

 

 


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