If you are under 70 years of age Medical Cards are means tested. Contact your local Citizens Information Centre or Local Heath Service Executive for income guidelines.
It was announced that the income limits for medical cards for people aged over 70 will reduce from €600/€1,200 per week (single person/couple) to €500/ €900 per week. The GP Visit Card will still be available to people aged over 70 with income up to €700/€1,400 per week. It is planned to have the necessary legislation in place by the end of 2013 or early 2014.
The prescription charge for medical card holders will be increased to €2.50 per item (from €1.50), up to a maximum of €25 per month per person or family (increased from €19.50). The new charges are expected to apply from 1 December 2013.
Pensions, earnings, interest from capital and all other sources of income are included in the means test.
Where one spouse is aged over 70 years and the other spouse is aged under 70 years, they will both qualify for a medical card if their income is below €1,400 a week.
If your spouse or cohabiting partner dies after 1st January 2009 and you are aged over 70, you can keep your medical card for 3 years, provided that your income is less than €1,400. After the 3 years the relevant income for a single person applies.
Capital (savings and investments) is assessed differently for people aged over 70 years than for those aged under 70. For those aged over 70 years, it is only the actual interest earned on capital that is taken into account, not the capital amount. Income from the first €36,000 of capital for a single person and €72,000 for a couple is not counted.
The H.S.E. wrote to all people aged 70 and over informing them of the new arrangements. Only people who have income above the limits need reply, otherwise everyone else simply keeps their card.
The G.P. out-of-hours service is an urgent medical service provided by doctors and nurses outside normal practice hours.
The opening hours for this services is 6.00 p.m. to 8.00a.m. and 24 hours weekends and public holidays. If you have a medical card or a G.P. card the service is free. If not, the doctor will charge a fee for the visit. Medical advice given by nurses or doctors over the phone isfree of charge.
Dental treatment for medical card holders is provided by dentists who hold a contract with the HSE. A list of participating dentists is available in each area. Further information can be obtained from your dentist or from the HSE at 1850 24 1850.
Treatments allowable under the scheme are:
Prior approval based on clinical necessity, can be requested by the dentist from the HSE for other treatments e.g. root treatments, dentures
Call the H.S.E. information Line on 1850 241 850 to find your local service.
Contact Citizens Information or your local Health Centre for more information.