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.
Check www.medicalcard.ie for more information.
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 www.mydps.ie
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)
- Phenylketonuria (PKU)
- Spina Bifida
- 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.
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.