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Fewer and fewer people have private health insurance

New CSO data also says 30 per cent of adults have a medical card – and that hospital waiting lists are getting much longer.

Image: Edu-Tourist via Flickr

THE NUMBER OF Irish adults with private health insurance has fallen since 2007, according to new statistics from the CSO.

The figures showed that the number of adults with private cover fell from 49 per cent in 2007 to 47 per cent by the third quarter of last year.

That fall was sharper when those with medical cards were discounted; when dealing with people who have private health insurance and no other form of cover, the number dropped from 44 to 41 per cent.

The number of people covered by medical cards, meanwhile, has jumped to 30 per cent – with 41 per cent of women, and 31 per cent of men, now in possession of the cards.

Men are more likely than women to go without any formal cover, with 26 per cent of men having neither a medical card nor private insurance, compared to 19 per cent of women.

Just over a third of non-Irish nationals living in the State are covered only by a medical card, doubled from the 16 per cent coverage measured in 2007.

The survey also found that nine out of ten adults considered themselves to be in good health, though predictably this number decreased among older populations.

At the time the survey was compiled, in the third quarter of 2010, 88 per cent of respondents said they had been consulted with the health service on their own health in the previous year; three quarters of those had visited a GP at least once.

Those with medical cards were over twice as likely to visit a GP as those without one.

The CSO’s data showed that waiting lists also grew since 2007, with 8 per cent of the Irish adult public on a hospital waiting list in 2007 – up from 6 per cent in 2007.

Read the CSO’s Health Status survey in full (PDF) >

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Gavan Reilly

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