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Health Insurance in Ireland: Issues and Challenges

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  • Nolan, Brian

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

Abstract

Over the past decade or so the context in which Irelands complex mix of public and private health care operates has changed radically, as the numbers purchasing health insurance have soared and the nature of the insurance market has changed in response to EU regulations. This has widened the divide between those with and without health insurance, and called into question the public-private structure on which Ireland has relied for many years. Almost half the Irish population now pay for private health insurance, one of the highest levels of coverage in the OECD. This is despite the fact that hospital care is what private health insurance mostly covers, and everyone has entitlement to public hospital care from the state. The insured can avail of private health care, but much of this private care is actually delivered in public hospitals. The resulting two-tier system is now widely regarded as problematic from an equity perspective, but there are also serious efficiency issues arising from the incentive structures embedded in this particularly close intertwining of public and private.

Suggested Citation

  • Nolan, Brian, 2004. "Health Insurance in Ireland: Issues and Challenges," Papers HRBWP10, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:hrb10
    Note: Published by ESRI, ISSC & University of Ulster
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    File URL: http://www.esri.ie/pubs/OPEA041.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Colm Harmon & Brian Nolan, 2001. "Health insurance and health services utilization in Ireland," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 135-145.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacqueline O'Reilly & Miriam M. Wiley, 2007. "The Public/Private Mix in Irish Acute Public Hospitals: Trends and Implications," Papers WP218, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. Jacqueline O'Reilly & Miriam M. Wiley, 2008. "How Local is Hospital Treatment? An Exploratory Analysis of Public/Private Variation in Location of Treatment in Irish Acute Public Hospitals," Papers WP237, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    3. repec:ucn:wpaper:10197/1109 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Finn, Claire & Harmon, Colm P., 2006. "A Dynamic Model of Demand for Private Health Insurance in Ireland," IZA Discussion Papers 2472, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Smith, Samantha & Normand, Charles, 2009. "Analysing equity in health care financing: A flow of funds approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 379-386, August.
    6. Claire Finn & Colm Harmon, 2006. "A dynamic model of demand for private health insurance in Ireland by and," Working Papers 200612, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    7. Samantha Smith, 2010. "The Irish ‘health basket’: a basket case?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 11(3), pages 343-350, June.

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