The Irish Healthcare system is different to the UK. You will be required to pay for a number of your treatments. However, as UK residents, you do have some “cover” by way of your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).
An EHIC means that you can get necessary healthcare in the public system of any EU / EEA country or Switzerland, if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay in that country.
You should apply for the European Health Insurance Card if you:
- Plan to go on holiday to another EU / EEA country or Switzerland
- Regularly visit any of these countries, for example, on business, as a frontier worker or for leisure
- Plan to go to any of these countries to seek work
- Are being sent by your employer to work in any of these countries temporarily but will continue to pay tax in your EU country of residence
- Intend to undertake a course of study in any of these countries but still consider yourself as ordinarily resident in your EU country
- Intend to visit any of these countries for any other type of temporary stay where healthcare in itself is not the aim of the visit
An EHIC is the replacement for the old Form E111. Therefore, Ireland also has an EHIC. In addition to the EHIC, Ireland also has a Medical Card available for those on a low income. The Irish Medical Card is a plastic card, about the size of a credit card, issued by the HSE. People who hold a Medical Card are entitled to a range of Health Services free of charge. You can find out more about this here.
It is very wise to read the NHS’s country information regarding Healthcare in Ireland.
The NHS also states that “I understand that should any person on this application decide to remain abroad to live or work, then the relevant authorities must be informed and the EHIC returned.“. I highlight that the Irish website (as above) states: “You should apply for the European Health Insurance Card if you …… Plan to go to any of these countries to seek work“. I have sent an email to the NHS to clarify at what point you need to return your EHIC.