St Patrick's Mental Health Services is an independent, not-for-profit organisation and receives no government funding. We receive fees for our services from service users and/or their health insurance company.
The health insurance market has become increasingly difficult to navigate in recent years. This is due, in part, to the extensive range of policies and terms and conditions associated with an increasing number of plans.
We are covered by all health insurance companies in Ireland (VHI, Laya or Irish Life Health). We advocate, where appropriate, on behalf of service users regarding mental healthcare benefits provided by the insurance companies and other related matters for the sector.
The links below set out a number of useful sources of information as reference sites:
In particular, the Health Insurance Authority website is very informative in this area.
Mental healthcare is specifically provided for in the legislation that underpins voluntary health insurance, known as the Minimum Benefit legislation. This legislation states that every policy must provide a minimum benefit and, in the case of general mental healthcare or general psychiatric cover, this amounts to 100 days in any given calendar year. However, some insurers provide extra cover over and above the minimum required. This is further restricted for alcohol and substance abuse treatment to 91 days in any (rolling) five-year period.
If you are considering purchasing a plan, changing your plan and/or switching insurance companies, it may be useful to know that a health insurer cannot refuse to sell you health insurance, even if you have an existing medical condition; however a waiting period may apply. Please ask for details or visit the HIA website for further information.
If you are shopping around for health insurance, we have compiled a useful list of questions that you may wish to ask a health insurer about mental healthcare cover:
- What are the benefits for mental healthcare provided by this policy?
- Are these benefits the minimum you are obliged to provide or do you provide extra mental healthcare benefits?
- How do I distinguish between different mental healthcare providers? Is there a quality standard?
- Do you cover or provide benefits for day care and/or care in the community, for example, in the Dean Clinics? If so, what are the benefits? Will I be required to pay a shortfall for day care or treatment in the Dean Clinics and if so, how much?
- Do you provide cover for adolescents in the Willow Grove service operated by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services?
- Depending on my mental healthcare needs, can I decide, in conjunction with my doctor, how I use my benefits under my/this policy (for example, inpatient care and/or day care)?
- Is there any waiting period in relation to claiming mental healthcare benefits if I join or switch my policy?
- Is this dependent on age for people named on the policy? What are the limits (if any) to my cover in any given calendar year?
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