Last edited: Feb 4, 2015 This is very much a skeleton. It will be developed and links will be put in over time. Comments welcome . First, ask yourself what sort of insurance you need or even if you need insurance at all. If you are a healthy, non-smoker under 35, then you probably don't need health insurance Health insurance is great value for older people with medical conditions but it is terrible value for younger, healthy people. Instead of paying €100 a month to an insurance company, you would be better off saving the €100 into a separate savings account and using it to pay for your occasional visits to the doctor. If you need urgent medical treatment e.g. if you get cancer, if you get a heart attack or if you are in a car accident, you will get it anyway in a public hospital. If you want private or semi-private accommodation, you can pay for it out of your savings. The main risk you run by not having insurance is that you will need an operation which is not urgent and you would have to go on the public waiting list. But if you have been putting €100 a month, aside for a few years, you will be able to pay for most of these operations yourself in a private hospital. If you are under 35 and you do want insurance, take out a policy with a big excess You don't need insurance for day to day medical expenses. They are very bad value for you as you will be visiting the doctor only rarely. Even if you go to a consultant, you can pay the €150 consultation fee yourself. Your main risk is that you will face a very expensive, non urgent operation. You can cut the premium significantly by agreeing to pay the first €500 of every claim yourself. Put the premium saved into a savings account, so that you have a fund to pay for your health expenses as they arise. For example, the Laya Healthcare Advantage 500 Explore which costs €559. You will get a semi-private room but with an excess of €500 per claim. In many private hospitals, you could opt for a private room, but pay €200 per night yourself. So a 5 night stay in a private room in a private hospital would cost you €1,500. So why not pay the annual premium and put €50 a month into a savings account. After a couple of years you will have a fund to pay to upgrade to a private room if you need it. This seems to be a better option than paying €463 for the Laya Assure Vitality which will give you access to public hospitals only, but with no excess. If you are 35 or over, and healthy, you should probably take out very basic health insurance The rules are changing on the 1 May. From then health insurers will be able to charge late entrants to health insurance a surcharge of 2% a year for every year over the age of 35. So although health insurance is bad value for you, you should probably take it out as a long term investment. You should take out the very basic, cheapest policy to meet the requirements of early entry. If you develop an illness while you have basic insurance, upgrade it immediately. You will have to wait two years to claim the higher benefit, but if you face a higher risk of ongoing medical costs, then it's well worth upgrading. If you have an illness which requires ongoing treatment, you should spend a lot on health insurance as it's great value You will pay the same premium as a healthy 30 year old, although your claims will be a lot higher. As you approach 65, you should upgrade your health insurance As you get older, even if you are healthy, the likelihood of you having medical costs rise. If you upgrade your health insurance below the age of 65, you will have to wait 2 years to claim the higher benefit. If you upgrade, over the age of 65, the waiting period is 5 years. Make sure that the policy you choose has full orthopaedic cover - many expensive policies exclude orthopaedic hospitals.