Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Healthcare - we're paying on the double

If I'm involved in a road accident, brought to A&E by ambulance and end up in the ICU for a week, most, if not all, of my medical bills will be covered by my PRSI contributions. I will receive exactly the same treatment as if I had VHI cover.

If, however, I tell the hospital that I have VHI cover, then VHI will be billed for several thousand euros for my care.

In effect, I will have paid twice for my hospital stay - both through the tax system and through my VHI membership.

VHI should only be billed for extra benefits for their members e.g. private or semi-private rooms, extra consultant time, queue-jumping for elective surgery etc.

Then the annual subscriptions paid by VHI/BUPA members would be very much lower, and many more people might be able to afford to take out cover.

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