Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Questions (11, 15, 43)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

11. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health the reason the latest Health Service Executive service plan did not contain a 2014 projection for discretionary medical cards as per the 2013 plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21275/14]

View answer

Dara Calleary

Question:

15. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if the Health Service Executive’s current projection for medical cards as set out in the 2014 service plan still stands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21258/14]

View answer

Seán Fleming

Question:

43. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the number of medical cards the Health Service Executive expects there to be in circulation at the end of 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21263/14]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 11, 15 and 43 together.

The HSE National Service Plan for 2014 projects that there will be 1,875,707 medical cards for 2014. This projection is based on the HSE’s analysis of recent trends and the impact of budgetary decisions.

The medical card scheme is a demand led scheme. Persons who currently do not hold a medical card could become eligible due to a change in circumstances either on a means or a discretionary basis.

All medical card and GP visit card holders are subject to a periodic review to determine continuing eligibility. The HSE will conduct reviews of eligibility in a risk-assessed manner in relation to approximately one million medical card holders during 2014. It is challenging to project precisely the potential changes in numbers eligible as the granting and retention of a medical card or GP visit card is subject to individual assessment and review which can result in renewal, change or removal of eligibility.

As a consequence of the multiplicity and complexity of factors, it is not possible to estimate the number of medical cards that may be awarded on a discretionary basis.

Question No. 12 answered with Question No. 6.