Having a Medical Card entitles patients to a range of services for free. This includes GP visits, certain dental treatments, and hospital visits along with some Personal & Social Services.

Access to a medical card is means tested and cards are generally awarded to applicants below a certain income level. There are different guidelines and charges for those aged under 70 years and those aged over 70 years. For persons under the age of 70 years there is a prescription levy of €1.50 for each item, up to a maximum of €15.00 per month, for each person or family. For persons aged over 70 years the prescription levy is €1.00 for each item, up to a maximum of €10.00 per month, for each person or family. To avoid paying charges above the monthly limit you should register for a family certificate and give this to your pharmacist. The certificate lists all the members of your family so the pharmacist knows to not charge them over the limit.

If you are marginally above the limit for a full medical card you could be eligible for a GP Visit card which just entitles you to see your GP for free. 

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A GP Visit Cards allows individuals and families in Ireland to visit their family doctor for free. Only the cost of visits to your family doctor is free; you must pay for prescribed drugs, medicines and other health services like others who don’t have a Medical Card. If you have a GP Visit Card you should also apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card if you don’t already have one. The income guidelines for GP Visit Cards are higher than the Medical Card and the allowances for rent, mortgage and childcare bring many people’s income within the guidelines.

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme an individual or family will pay no more than €114 each calendar month for:

  • approved prescribed drugs and medicines
  • rental costs for a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine
  • rental costs for oxygen

If you have a GP Visit Card or do not have a Medical Card you should apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card. If you are ordinarily resident in Ireland and hold a PPSN you are entitled to a Drug Payments card. ‘Ordinarily resident’ means that you are living here and intend to live here for at least one year. There is no means test for the Drugs Payment Scheme. The definition of a family for this scheme, is an adult, their spouse, and any children under 18 years. You can include any family member, regardless of age, who can't fully maintain themselves and has:

  • a physical disability
  • an intellectual disability
  • an illness

You will need to include a medical report for the applicants who cannot maintain themselves. Dependents over 18 years and under 23 years who are in full time education may also be included.  

You can apply online at

If you have certain long-term illnesses or disabilities, you may apply to join the Long Term Illness Scheme and you will be supplied with a Long Term Illness card. This allows you to get certain specified medicines and approved appliances, which are related to the treatment of your illness, free of charge. There is no means test for the scheme which means it does not depend on your income or other circumstances. To qualify, you must be 'ordinarily resident’ in the Republic of Ireland. This means that you are living here and intend to live here for at least one year. Students from outside the EU do not qualify for the LTI Scheme.

The LTI scheme only applies to the following conditions:

  • Acute Leukaemia
  • Intellectual disability (Mental handicap)
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Mental Illness (in a person under 16)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Muscular Dystrophies
  • Diabetes Mellitus (does not include Gestational Diabetes)
  • Parkinsonism
  • Epilepsy
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Haemophilia
  • Spina Bifida
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide

To get a Long-Term Illness card, your Doctor or consultant must sign a form to confirm your condition and list the medication you require.

The High-Tech Scheme was introduced to facilitate the supply of certain medicines which had previously been supplied primarily in the hospital setting. Patients receiving care and treatment under the High Tech Scheme have complex medical and health needs, and management frequently involves vital treatment regimens with novel and/or toxic medicines. Such medicines are generally only prescribed or initiated in hospital. High Tech Medicines are prescribed in hospitals using a specified form.  They are supplied under the Medical Card, Drugs Payment, Long Term Illness or Health Amendment Act Schemes, as appropriate.  Your doctor will issue a copy of your prescription to the HSE as well as a copy to your general practitioner (GP), while you bring the original to the pharmacy.
If you hold a full Medical Card, and have been discharged from an Accident and Emergency Department or ward of an acute hospital, we can supply you with some medicines to get your treatment started. This gives you a time to get your prescription organised at your GP surgery. You must present the prescription on the day you were discharged or the following day and we can supply up to seven days treatment. The Medical Card item levy of €1.50 per item applies to this scheme.

If you contracted Hepatitis C from the administration of blood or blood products within Ireland and have a positive diagnostic test, you are entitled to a range of services including public in-patient and out-patient hospital services, GP services, all prescribed drugs, medicines and appliances, dental and ophthalmic services, home help, home nursing, counselling services and other services without charge. If you are eligible, the Hepatitis C Liaison Officer in your HSE area will arrange to issue you with a Health (Amendment) Act Card (HAA Card), which will make it easier for you to access these services.

A HAA Card is not the same as a Medical Card. The HAA Card is personal to the individual cardholder and does not cover family members (except in the case of access to counselling services). You should bring your card with you when availing of services.

Summary of Entitlements

  • GP Services
  • Prescribed drugs, medicines, aids and appliances
  • Dental services
  • Ophthalmic services
  • Aural services
  • Home support services
  • Home nursing
  • Counselling services
  • A range of other services, such as chiropody/podiatry, and physiotherapy
  • Certain in-patient and out-patient services in public hospitals.


Irish taxpayers are eligible to claim tax relief on payments made towards health care in any one calendar year. This includes payments made for prescription medicines. To claim this tax relief, you must complete a Med 1 form (available from your local tax office or from your Pharmacy) at the end of the tax year. Your local Lynch’s Pharmacy will be happy to provide you with a print-out of your total spend on prescriptions in the pharmacy. A claim for tax relief must be made within 4 years after the end of the tax year to which the claim relates.
European residents who hold the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), E111 or equivalent may obtain essential prescribed medicines in case of emergency. Medicines must be prescribed by a doctor who has a contract with the Health Services Executive (HSE). The doctor issues the prescription on a form. A levy of €1.50 per item is payable.
The Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) covers all medical card holders (aged 16 years and over). They can avail of a range of dental treatments from dentists who hold DTSS contracts with the Health Services Executive (HSE). We supply approved medicines which have been prescribed under this scheme free of charge (subject to a €1.50 government levy per item).