You can buy a vehicle with or without a licence. But, you can't drive it off the lot without a driver's licence. Your current licence is good for a year, during which time you'll have to take 12 driving lessons and pass the Irish test for any further years.
If you qualify for a medical card, then you get full coverage - and the full wait except in emergencies. But, you would qualify for a medical card if you have a low income and no savings or investments.
The government's information site at http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/health/entitlement_to_health_services/medical_card.html lays it out and contains these snippets that I include below:
"To qualify for a medical card your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size. Cash income, savings, investments and property (except for your own home) are taken into account in the means test...."
"Normally, your total income is taken into account in the means test for the medical card. There are different guidelines for those aged under 70 years and those aged over 70 years."
There are lots more details including income thresholds - roughly 200 euro per week and below for a couple under 70 years of age. Again, check the page.
But, you do not qualify for any of these benefits - no matter what your citizenship or level income - until you have been resident in Ireland for two years.
Now the government has introduced a co-pay system that puts you on the hook for daily hospital stay expenses up to a total of 1,017 euro. And again, hospital costs are not covered except in certain cases for non-residents. There's also the possibility of paying 175 euro per week if you're kept in hospital longer than 30 days.
I suppose I should try to put this all in a context that Americans will recognise. You know how so many people in America hate it when illegal aliens get health and welfare benefits. Until your two years of residency are up, you're basically in the same position in Ireland. I know you won't be the illegal part, but you don't qualify for much until you're living in Ireland for a while.
The only way around this is to keep up your American health insurance till your Irish private insurance kicks in (at least 13 weeks and, depending on age, up to 10 years)or you have been resident in Ireland for two years. Many American insurers only require that you return to your state once every 6 months in order to keep up your coverage. I know this is a hassle, but it's one way around this. There's also coverage if either of you is a veteran, but that would be at a US base someplace in Europe, probably England.
You can read about hospital charges here: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/health/hospital_services/hospital_charges.html
Well, there you've put your finger on the nub of the problem for retirees to Ireland - health coverage. I cover this in the site, but I guess pulling it together would help.
: I was under the impression that the National
: Healthcare (i.e. medical card) covered
: everything & that private insurance was
: not necessary (if you don't mind waiting).
: Is that so? Thanks for the info re: car
: leasing. Do we need to have an Irish
: driver's license before buying a car or can
: we buy one when we first arrive & then
: get an Irish license?
: --Previous Message--
: Long term car leasing is available, but
: are no advantages other than for businesses
: who can deduct the costs as business
: expenses. You still owe the full cost of
: whatever hasn't been paid off at the end of
: the lease. The only significant plus is that
: maintenance is covered - but you're paying
: for that privilege whether you need it or
: not. Also, you'll only be able to lease
: almost new cars - which cost more.
: Health costs are rising fast. The main
: problem is that you have to wait for
: coverage for pre-existing illness even after
: buying into a health care plan. Below is
: Aviva health care's rules, but they're
: exactly the same for all three health
: insurers since this is the deal they all
: worked out with the government.
: Exclusion periods for pre-existing
: This exclusion applies to all in-patient
: benefits offered under your plan and cover
: for out-patient scans.
: If you have a pre-existing condition, as
: determined on medical advice, then the
: following exclusion periods will apply
: before any claim will be paid relating to
: that condition. Please note that these
: periods begin to run from the date you first
: become insured under any health insurance
: contract and do not start again on becoming
: a health member with Aviva unless there has
: been a lapse in cover of over 13 weeks.
: If this exclusion for pre-existing
: conditions applies, the length of the
: exclusion period is as follows:
: •persons aged under 55 on date of joining–5
: •persons aged 55-59 on date of joining–7
: •persons aged 60 or over on date of
: joining–10 years
: Please note that a pre-existing condition is
: determined from the date the condition
: commences rather than the date upon which
: the member becomes aware of the condition. A
: pre-existing condition may therefore be
: present before giving rise to any symptoms
: or being diagnosed by a doctor.
: That last paragraph is a real kick in the
: teeth. Where does that leave cancer
: coverage? However, the national health care
: - once you're in the system which is the
: main thing private insurance is designed to
: speed up - will take care of you for major
: medical hospitalisation if your private
: insurer does not cover you.
: --Previous Message--
: Thanks, Scott. What about the National
: Healthcare program? I understand about the
: waits, but here in the states you have to
: wait, too - even with premium (i.e.
: EXPENSIVE) insurance and then the insurance
: companies seem to only want to pay for
: medical care in a month with a "Q"
: in it!! I have to fight for every nickel
: they pay. Re: the car---is long-term
: leasing available? & might that be an
: --Previous Message--
: Thanks Pam for the sugggestion. It's really
: tax matters and health insurance that
: retirement needs are particular concerns. In
: the health insurance, it can be years before
: you older people are fully covered,
: particularly for pre-existing illness. Your
: plans sound reasonable, but I think you'll
: find that public transport to small villages
: in the west (bus, basically) is erratic and
: won't suffice. Doctor appointments, special
: shopping outside the local stores, and
: suchlike will likely prove too difficult
: without your own set of wheels.
: Your plans to rent are the best since house
: prices are still falling and so are rents
: outside of Dublin and Cork. Part of the fun
: of the first months will be visiting
: different areas and seeing for yourself what
: meets your requirements. Again, you'll need
: a car for this.
: A decent used vehicle and insurance proof
: from your overseas insurance provider of
: no-claims will get you up to 3 years
: no-claims bonus. Figure under one thousand
: euro for car insurance and another one
: thousand for petrol and maybe another 3,000
: per year in car payments - more or less
: depending on the age of the vehicle,
: guarantees, etc. There are lots of privately
: available cheap vehicles - just so long as
: they'll pass the annual car test.
: --Previous Message--
: My husband & I are planning to retire to
: Ireland within the next 2 years. I am an
: Irish Citizen (by descent) & he is not.
: He will be a legal resident of Ireland based
: on his marriage to me? Financially, we
: will each have our US Social Security income
: and the proceeds from the sale of our home.
: We plan to rent a furnished place somewhere
: near the west coast of Ireland - hopefully
: near the water (my husband is an avid salt
: water fisherperson) but also within a
: village (walking distance to amenities) -
: we really don't want to have to buy a car,
: we'd rather rent or lease one when we want
: to travel. I'd love to see more about
: retiring to Ireland on your website.
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