Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (882)

Eoin Ó Broin


882. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Health his plans to raise the eligibility threshold for the over 70 medical card in view of increases in costs of living. [35096/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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. 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 income limits for the over 70's are reviewed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index. Any new policy measures regarding income thresholds for either medical cards or GP visit cards to be incorporated into the forthcoming Budget will be considered by Government as part of the 2020 Estimates process.

It is important to note that if a person'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.