As the Deputy will be aware, I do not have responsibility for private hospitals, including in relation to charges that they apply. Neither do I have a role, as Minister for Health, in the commercial decisions taken by any health insurer regarding the treatments or services provided in their products, provided that the regulatory obligations set out in Minimum Benefit regulations and other health insurance legislation are complied with.
In relation to testing, the HSE has developed guidance for the management of planned hospital admissions for non-COVID care which sets out advisory testing strategies for hospital patients. This guidance seeks to provide an advisory framework for mitigating risks associated with the delivery of non-COVID care while COVID-19 continues to be prevalent, and testing provides one of a number of measures that can be taken to reduce risk.
As with any procedure or test, there will be a cost. I am not in a position to comment on what the actual cost may be in private hospitals, however, I understand that the costs arising from testing for COVID-19 in public hospitals is much lower than the upper charges referenced in recent media coverage. In addition, I can confirm that the NTPF have advised my Department that no patient is liable for any charge from a private hospital for services arranged by the NTPF.