Getting Health Insurance as an International Student in Ireland


Do I Need Health Insurance as an International Student in Ireland?

Last updated: 12 February 2024 Student Tips and Advice Study in Ireland

Thousands of international students reach Irish higher educational institutions yearly to pursue exciting study options and expand their horizons. However, one crucial aspect that often gets overlooked amidst the excitement of studying abroad is health insurance, which must be considered while getting ready to study in Ireland from a very early stage.

As an international student in Ireland, it is essential to understand the country's healthcare system and the significance of health insurance coverage during your stay. Ireland has a public healthcare system, the Health Service Executive (HSE), provides essential medical services to Irish citizens and residents. International students, however, are not eligible to avail of free public healthcare services, and in such a scenario, private health insurance becomes crucial during their stay. We have created a comprehensive guide with all the relevant information on student health insurance in Ireland.

If you want to study at prestigious Irish universities without having to deal with challenges that come during the application stage, book a free consultation with SI-Ireland to learn how we can help you get into your desired university. 

health insurance in ireland for students

Health Insurance for International Students in Ireland

As an international student in Ireland, you must have private health insurance to ensure you can promptly access medical care when needed. The Irish government requires all non-European Union (EU) and non-European Economic Area (EEA) students to have health insurance coverage throughout their time in Ireland. This requirement applies to degree-seeking students and those participating in short-term courses in the country. 

Choosing the right health insurance plan

Selecting a suitable health insurance plan for your stay in Ireland can seem daunting, considering the numerous options available. You may need to take into account the following factors to determine which health insurance plan is the best for you:

Health insurance providers in Ireland

Several insurance providers offer health insurance plans tailored to the needs of international students in Ireland. Some of the prominent ones include:

To find the most suitable option for you, you can research each provider's offerings, read customer reviews, and seek recommendations from other international students.

University-provided health insurance

Although not available at all universities, in some cases, Irish institutions may offer their health insurance plans specifically designed for international students. While these plans may seem convenient at the start, you must ensure that they meet the minimum requirements set by the Irish government and your specific needs. You could compare them with private insurance options to determine which offers better coverage and value for money.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

If you are an EU/EEA student studying in Ireland, you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your home country. The EHIC allows you to access necessary medical treatment at reduced or no cost while temporarily staying in Ireland. However, it's essential to note that the EHIC may not cover all medical expenses, and having private health insurance is still highly recommended.

When should I purchase health insurance?

Health insurance is indispensable for a smooth and worry-free experience as an international student in Ireland, so you must have the right plan before you enter the country. 

You must purchase the best plan for your case as soon as your student visa is approved and you are preparing to travel to Ireland. You must have applied for it before applying for your student visa, as proof of health insurance is necessary while applying for your student visa. Ensure that all the formalities are done and the insurance coverage begins from the day you arrive in Ireland to avoid any gaps in medical protection you may need.


How much is health insurance in Ireland?

The cost of health insurance in Ireland varies based on several factors, including the level of coverage, age, pre-existing medical conditions, and the insurance provider you choose. It typically ranges from €300 to €1,500 per year

Is healthcare affordable in Ireland?

Private healthcare services in Ireland are typically more expensive than public services. The cost of private medical consultations, tests, and treatments can vary widely, and these expenses can be significant without health insurance.

How long is the waiting period for health insurance in Ireland?

The waiting period for health insurance usually varies depending on the health insurance provider finalized and the specific terms and conditions of the policy you choose. The general waiting period usually ranges from a few days to a few weeks, during which time you won't be able to claim any benefits. It's also worth mentioning that waiting periods may not apply in emergencies requiring immediate medical attention. In such cases, you should be able to access healthcare services as required without waiting for the expiration period.

Do I need health insurance if I have a medical card in Ireland?

If you have a Medical Card in Ireland, you are entitled to free or heavily subsidized healthcare services provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE). It is primarily designed for individuals with low income or financial hardship and ensures they can access essential medical care without significant financial burden.

Does Ireland have free healthcare for international students?

Ireland does not provide free healthcare for international students, including those from non-European Union (EU) and non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

Can you have two health insurance policies in Ireland?

Yes, having two health insurance policies in Ireland is possible. This is known as dual health insurance coverage.

Do I need health insurance to study in Ireland?

Yes, health insurance in Ireland is a mandatory requirement for all international students. Whether pursuing a degree programme or attending short-term courses, having health insurance is a crucial prerequisite for obtaining a student visa and enrolling in Irish educational institutions.

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