- Posted by irishhealthinsurance
- On February 20, 2012
With increasing financial pressure on families to give up private health insurance the latest report from the HSE should be strongly considered before cancelling cover. The number of people waiting longer than three months for day procedures in public hospitals has risen by more than 7,000 in the past year, according to new HSE figures. In December last there were 19,862 adults and children on national waiting lists for day case procedures for more than three months, up from 12,797 in December 2010.
The report states that these new hospital referrals (those waiting less than 3 months) amount to a further 24,000 adults and children, bringing the day case total to 44,079 patients. Overall more than 15,700 adults and children are waiting for elective in-patient treatment in public hospitals around the country, up by another 1,000 in a 12 month period. The longest elective in-patient waiting lists were recorded at the Galway University Hospitals group.
Now that people are under this financial pressure to drop their cover many seek comfort from dissenting voices that try to provide some justification for cancelling, such as the notion that children do not really need the cover as they are only treated in public hospitals and the idea that health insurance is only for the purposes of covering elective procedures.
While a procedure may be listed as elective by an insurer, a parent may find it anything but. Take the following example, a parent notices their child has difficulty with developing language and through a consultation discovers that the child needs grommets. As a public patient with no health insurance the child is placed on a waiting list for say 8 months before the operation can be performed. With the recent admission of Minister James Reilly that some elective surgeries will be cancelled in public hospitals due to the health staff exodus, these waiting lists could now be longer. This cancellation could see your child suffer developmental delay as the crucial phase for language acquisition passes by.
Indeed according to the HSE National Audiology Review, which was published in April last year, there are ‘serious shortcomings in many audiology services in Ireland’. The findings by the National Audiology Review Group, which was headed by UK audiology expert, Prof John Bamford on behalf of the HSE found that hearing problems that are not identified or are not addressed in a timely manner ‘impact directly on communication ability, constrain development in children, lead to limitations in everyday activities and restrict personal and social participation’.
Around 3% of children aged two to four have a hearing loss due to glue ear more than 50% of the time. The surgical insertion of grommets usually benefits such children. It also found that audiology services ‘represent poor value for taxpayer’s money’.
• The average age of intervention for permanent congenital hearing loss is two years for children with severe and profound hearing loss and five years for children with moderate hearing loss
• Access to good, authoritative audiological assessment and intervention is patchy at best and non-existent in some areas
• Children requiring cochlear implants have to wait longer than is optimal for surgery
• Children’s earmould services are often slow, inadequate or even non-existent in some areas
• Modern digital signal processing hearing aids are not yet universal for HSE clients.
Meanwhile, the review also found that waiting times for adults requiring audiological assessment or hearing aids are also ‘unacceptably long’. Remember, what the hospital might classify as elective, you may not! Likewise how elective is a colonoscopy or a CT which might well prove an early diagnosis for cancer? The good news is that there are options. Good cover for a family at the moment will only cost €1,500 a year or €30 per week.
Contact Irish Health Insurance for more details. 01 403 0700 firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Corporate Business
Irish Health Insurance
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