Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Questions (205)

Alan Kelly

Question:

205. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health his plans to review the income limits for a medical card application (details supplied). [14427/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Health Service Executive (HSE) issues income guidelines to assist in determining entitlement to medical cards/GP visit cards. Any revision to the income thresholds must have regard for Government policy, increases in the Consumer Price Index and other issues which may be relevant.

While there are no plans at present to revise the income thresholds for medical cards, it is vitally important that the medical card system is responsive and sensitive to people's needs. In that regard my Department keeps medical card issues, including existing thresholds under constant review.

It should be noted that the gross medical card limits for the over 70's are reviewed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index. Under the Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) (No. 2) Act 2013, when a person attains the age of 70, the medical card income limits are €500 gross income per week for a single person and €900 gross income per week for a couple. In addition, from August 2015, all persons aged 70 or older qualify for a GP Visit Card, regardless of income.

It is important to note that if a person's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this is more than the current means threshold, they will be awarded a medical card.

The Deputy may also be aware that Budget 2019 made provision for a 10% increase across all GP visit card thresholds. This measure will be implemented on 1st April 2019.