Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (155)

Louise O'Reilly


155. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health the estimated additional cost of extending free general practitioner care to the entire population. [27265/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

GMS contractors receive a range of capitation rates, fee per service payments and practice supports. It is not possible to definitively calculate the cost of extending universal GP access given the wide range of payments and variables that have to be accounted for.

Such a calculation would require a complex and detailed modelling exercise to account for a range of demographic changes, future projections of service demands and variation in the number of GPs and the allowances that could be paid.

The cost of GP visit and medical cards varies significantly with the age of the cardholder. The table below outlines the current indicative average annual cost for GP visit card eligibility and medical card eligibility, by age group.

Age Group

Cost per

GP Visit Card

Cost per Medical Card

0 – 4 Yrs



5 – 15 Yrs



16 - 44 Yrs



45 – 64 Yrs



65 – 69 Yrs



Aged 70 and over



Note: Indicative costings compiled by the HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service, based on claims for the 12-month period to December 2018.

Extension of free GP care to all citizens who do not currently hold a medical card or GP visit card would encompass a further 2.8 million people approximately.

Question No. 156 answered with Question No. 144.