Comparing health insurance plans


Sir, – I tried to shop around for health insurance recently and found the process so complicated that I abandoned the project in despair. A choice of insurance firms, with dissimilar ranges of insurance plans, with myriad combinations of inpatient cover for different procedures in various hospitals, with single, twin and multiple rooms, combined with different outpatient levels of cover, forced me to beat a hasty retreat. The concept of “semi-private” loomed large, and I pondered the meaninglessness of the term. I discovered also that some hospitals are labelled “high tech” and pondered just how bad a “low tech” hospital might be. Am I more likely to die, get infected or have a bad result in a “low-tech” hospital? Why are all hospitals not “high tech”? Can somebody give me a list of “low-tech” hospitals so that I will know to avoid them?

The Health Insurance Authority should define several insurance plans – basic, medium and top-of-the-range. Each insurance company should then be mandated to provide an identical policy for each of these levels, in addition to any other policies they might provide. Furthermore, hospitals should be mandated to state on their websites which insurance plans they accept as full payment, and what any excess charges are. In that way we could compare like with like and make a clear choice. The current system is more indecipherable than The Irish Times cryptic crossword. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.