Ireland’s health care system in numbers
Mark Whelan
Staff Writer

Ireland's public and private health care systems can seem complex. In this guide, we take a look at the numbers that underpin the systems.

Before deciding what type of health care is right for you, it’s important to know what is available to you under the public system as well as from private insurers. And unfortunately, there are many misunderstandings about how the system is actually structured.

In this guide, we give you a quick snapshot of the numbers that underpin the Irish health care system to help you make an informed decision for you and your family.

5 – new private health insurance customers are not covered for pre-existing conditions for the first five years of their policy.

6 – children under the age of six weeks are exempt from public health care costs in Ireland. Medical card holders are exempt too, but significantly, are not permitted to skip waiting lists for appointments and surgeries.

9 – health insurance premiums have been increasing at an annual average of 9% over recent years. It is vital to arrange a health insurance review every year to make sure you’re on the best and most cost-effective policy for your requirements.

80 – under the public health system in Ireland, one night in a public hospital will cost you €75. This rate is capped after ten nights in a given year, meaning that a stint in hospital under the public system could cost you as much as €800 in a year.

125 - the cost of a comprehensive, impartial, whole-of-market health insurance review is €125. You can arrange a one-to-one consultation now by clicking here.

365 – the estimated number of different private health insurance plans available in Ireland is 365. This makes it virtually impossible for consumers to compare plans like-for-like. However, at, we can search the entire market to find the perfect plan for your unique requirements.

850 – there are private health insurance plans available in Ireland from €850 a year. Considering that 10 nights in a hospital over the course of a year can incur a fee for as much as €800, this entry-level annual cost is appealing to many Irish people keen to avoid very long waiting lists.

1,000 – a private hospital room can cost as much as €1,000 a night for individuals without private health insurance. An appealing feature of private cover is the control it provides to members, who can have their say in choosing a hospital, doctor, room and the time at which they receive treatment.

435,00 – the number of people estimated to be waiting for a first appointment in the public healthcare system is 435,000. The main reason individuals in Ireland decide to take out private cover is to be guaranteed quick access to care when they need it.

Ireland's health care system can be complicated and confusing at times, but these figures should help you gain a general understanding of how the system works.

Compare insurance on

If you’re looking for the right health insurance plan for you, is here to help!

You can easily book a consultation with an expert health insurance adviser who will run a whole-of-market health insurance comparison and provide you with tailored recommendations for just €125.

You can also compare insurance policies for other types of insurance for free on We offer a comparison service for life insurance, serious illness insurance, mortgage protection insurance and home insurance

Check out our other insurance guides

If you’re looking for further information and helpful advice, make sure you check out our other guides on insurance. You may be interested in the following:

Head over to our insurance guides and blogs pages to see our full range of insurance-related articles.

Get in touch

If you have any health insurance-related questions, feel free to get in contact with us and we’ll do our best to help. You can get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.