Senator Robbie Gallagher says that people who have private health insurance should make sure that they are not over-charged for services when attending a public hospital.
Recent media reports that many people with private health insurance holders attending public hospitals for treatment were asked to sign a waiver form which removes their automatic right to public care have confused and concerned patients and their families. The waiver resulted in a €80 per night charge being imposed on the patient, while their insurance company is charged €800 per night.
“People are often unsure of what and why they are signing. They need to be clear 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 and so signing the waiver form is actually only leading to additional unnecessary costs and this is very unfair,” said Senator Gallagher.
“One of the results is that people 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,” he added.
“If you are asked to sign a waiver form while attending a public hospital you should ask what exact extra services and benefits you will receive. In many cases it may be worthwhile to sign the waiver, but if no additional benefits are on offer then think twice before signing away your rights as a public patient,” he concluded.