Moving to Ireland
Lifetime Community Rating (LCR) is a system where the older you are when you first buy a health insurance contract (health insurance), the more expensive it will be. This applies only to people from age 35 and above.
If you are aged 35 or above when you first buy health insurance, you will have to pay an extra 2% of the gross cost of your policy for each year above the age of 34 that you didn’t have health insurance. This additional charge is called an LCR loading.
If you move to Ireland from another country, you may be exempt from paying an LCR loading based on whether Ireland is your preferred principal residence and the amount of time that you spent abroad.
The examples below may help you to figure out if you will have to pay an LCR loading when you choose to move to Ireland, as your principal residence. If you are still not sure whether you will have to pay an LCR loading, contact us.
I am moving to Ireland for the first time
If you move to Ireland for the first time and you buy health insurance within nine months of making Ireland your principal residence, you won’t have to pay a LCR loading.
Sara moved from Italy to Ireland on 1 January 2023 to start a new job on a permanent contract. She bought health insurance in June 2023. Sara did not have to pay an LCR loading as she bought health insurance within nine months of arriving. If she had purchased it after nine months (on 1 October 2023 or later), she would have been required to pay an additional LCR loading on top of the cost of her health insurance policy.
I am moving back to Ireland after spending six months or more abroad
If you lived outside of Ireland on 1 May 2015 and you buy health insurance within nine months of making Ireland your principal residence, you won’t have to pay a LCR loading.
If you lived in Ireland on 1 May 2015 and you moved abroad on or after 1 November 2018, you will be given credit for a period of time you spent abroad that is longer than six months. This is called a qualifying credited period. You will not have to pay an LCR loading for this qualifying credited period if you buy health insurance within nine months of making Ireland your principal residence again.
Colm lived in Ireland and held health insurance for his whole life until September 2020, when he moved to Australia. After spending two years in Australia, he moved back to Ireland in October 2022. He bought health insurance in January 2022, and he did not have to pay an LCR loading as he bought health insurance within nine months of returning.
I am moving back to Ireland after spending multiple periods abroad
If you previously had health insurance but left Ireland for six months or more before returning to Ireland, and then you moved away for a second time for six months or more, you may have to pay an LCR loading depending on your previous history of cover or qualifying credited periods if you return to Ireland. However, if you had health insurance while you were living in Ireland, you may get credit for your previous periods of cover. Read the example below to see how this works.
Aoife lived in Ireland until December 2018, and she had health insurance for two years. She moved to Belgium in December 2018 at the age of 35, and after spending one year in Belgium, she moved back to Ireland in December 2019 at the age of 36. She bought health insurance in July 2020, and she did not have to pay an LCR loading as she bought health insurance within nine months of returning.
In July 2021, she moved to Canada. After living in Canada for one year, she moved back to Ireland in July 2022 at the age of 39. Aoife bought health insurance in August 2023 at the age of 40, and she had to pay LCR loadings on top of the cost of her policy because:
- She bought health insurance more than nine months after returning to Ireland;
- She was over the age of 34;
- She had a break in cover of two years.
The table below shows how Aoife’s LCR loading was calculated:
|Aoife's chronological age
|Minus any qualifying credited periods
(Her time in Belgium and the periods when she had health insurance in Ireland)
|Chronological age minus qualifying credited periods. This will be Aoife’s age at entry (the age that her insurer will use to calculate her LCR loading).
40 - 4 =
Total LCR loading
The LCR loading is an extra 2% of the gross cost of your policy for each year above the age of 34 that you didn’t have health insurance.
Aoife’s age at entry is 36, so she will have to pay a 4% loading.
|2 years x 2% = 4%
To calculate your LCR loading, your insurer may ask for evidence that you used to lived abroad but have recently made Ireland your principal residence. Some examples of evidence include:
- Evidence of your time spent living abroad (foreign rental agreements, foreign bank statements, foreign utility bills);
- Evidence of your date of arrival into Ireland (travel tickets, visa, passport visa);
- Evidence that you are planning on staying in Ireland for more than nine months (work contract, proof of enrolment in an educational institution, rental agreement, mortgage agreement, utility bill, tax receipts, three months of bank statements from an Irish bank account).
Note: This list is for guidance only and does not cover all of the possible supporting evidence that may be accepted by an insurer. For more information about what you can use as evidence, download the Evidence of a Principal Residence file at the end of this page.