Under the arrangements effected by the Health Act 2008, a revised system of assessment for eligibility was introduced for those 70 years of age and over, based on the significantly higher gross income limits rather than the standard net income thresholds. This advantageous arrangement for persons aged over 70 years has facilitated a much greater share of this cohort qualifying for a medical card compared to the general population as a whole.
There are no proposals to change this assessment process.
However, persons aged 70 or older who are assessed as ineligible under the gross income thresholds may also have their eligibility assessed under the means tested medical card scheme where they face particularly high expenses. This assessment is based on net income and assessable outgoing expenses and the qualifying income thresholds under this scheme are lower than over 70s gross income thresholds.
Furthermore, persons aged over 70 years may still be eligible for a medical card on a discretionary basis where they face undue hardship in arranging medical services as a result of medical or social circumstances.