Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Questions (31)

Richard Bruton


47 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a large number of old-age pensioners have lost their medical card as a result of Health Service Executive errors which assumes them to be deceased; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26364/09]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

Following enactment of the Health Act 2008, the Health Service Executive (HSE) wrote to all medical card holders aged 70 years and over in January 2009. Persons who were in receipt of a medical card on a non-means tested basis were requested, if over the income limits set out in the Act, to make a declaration to the Executive, on or before 2 March 2009.

To-date, 21,423 medical cards for persons aged 70 and over have been returned to the Executive or removed from the medical card register. The vast majority of people in the over 70s age group (334,652 — as at 1st May 2009) retained their medical cards.

Doctors have been advised by the HSE regarding clients that have been notified to the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) as deceased, gone away or where duplicates exist. In circumstances where a card holder has been removed from the medical card register and they are still entitled to a medical card, the person or their GP should advise the HSE immediately and as soon as the details are confirmed, the client's medical card eligibility will be restored. The HSE has received contact from a number of doctors and individuals in this regard and these cases are being worked through.