The Health Act 1970 (as amended) provides for two categories of eligibility for all persons ordinarily resident in the country, i.e. full eligibility (medical card) and limited eligibility (all others). Full eligibility is determined mainly by reference to income limits and is granted to persons who, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive (HSE) are unable to provide general practitioner, medical and surgical services to persons and themselves and their dependants without undue hardship. Persons with full eligibility (medical card holders) are entitled to a range of services including general practitioner services, prescribed drugs and medicines, all in-patient public hospital services in public wards including consultants services, all out-patient public hospital services including consultants services, dental, ophthalmic and aural services and appliances and maternity and infant care services.
They are also entitled to prescribed drugs and medicines subject to a €2.50 charge per prescribed item (maximum charge of €25 per month). Other services such as allied health professional services may be available to medical card holders.
The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine the particulars of this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible.The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.