Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (407)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

407. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Health if he will reverse the reduction in the income threshold for persons over 70 years of age applying for the medical card, which came into effect from 1 January 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21750/19]

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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.  The gross medical card limits for the over 70's, which are currently €500 gross income per week for a single person and €900 gross income per week for a couple, are reviewed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index. It is important to note that if a persons 's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this payment is in excess of the current income thresholds, the persons will be awarded a medical card.

In addition, the Deputy may be aware, that from August 2015 all persons aged 70 or over qualify for a GP visit card, regardless of income.