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– *All information from CitizensInformation.ie
If you have a medical card issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) you can receive certain health services free of charge. Normally, your dependent spouse or partner and your children are also covered for the same range of health services.
To qualify for a medical card, your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size. Cash income, savings, investments and property (except for your own home) are taken into account in the means test.
GP visit cards: If you do not qualify for a medical card on income grounds, you may qualify for a GP visit card.
Health services normally covered by Medical Card
If you have a medical card, you are entitled to:
- Free GP (family doctor) services
- Prescribed drugs and medicines — some prescription charges apply
- In-patient public hospital services, out-patient services and medical appliances
- Dental, optical and aural services
- Maternity and infant care services
- Some personal and social care services, for example, public health nursing, social work services and other community care services
- Short-term counselling for mild to moderate psychological difficulties, using the Counselling in Primary Care Service
- A maternity cash grant of €10.16 on the birth of each child (apply to your Local Health Office)
Medical card holders pay the Universal Social Charge on their income if it is over the exemption limit, but there is a reduced rate. Medical card holders may also be exempt from paying school transport charges and State exam fees in publicly-funded second-level schools. There may also be financial help with buying school books in certain schools.
Rules to qualify for a Medical Card
Normally, your total income is taken into account in the means test for the medical card.
There are different guidelines for the means test depending on your age:
- Means test rules for people under 70 years of age
- Means test rules for people over 70 years of age
The assessment of a couple for medical card purposes is based on the age of the older person.
If your income is above the limit you may still be able to obtain a medical card if your circumstances would result in hardship without one. This is sometimes called a discretionary medical card. See the Assessment Guidelines in Further information below for details.
– To see more details of rules to qualify for the HSE Medical Card, visit Citizens Information now.
Medical Card application
You can apply online for a medical card on medicalcard.ie. This is the quickest method of obtaining the card. The completed form will be returned to you.
Download Medical Card Application Form
Alternatively, you can download a medical card application form:
- MC1 Medical Card and GP Visit Card Application Form (pdf)
- MC1(a) Medical Card and GP Visit Card Application Form – People Aged 70 Years or Older (pdf) if you are aged over 70
If you have any questions before you send your application, you can phone Lo-call 1890 252 919, contact your Local Health Office, or email [email protected].
You bring the form to the GP you have chosen from the list of participating doctors. Usually, the GP you select must have his/her practice within 7 miles of where you live. If the GP agrees to accept you as a patient for medical card GP services, he/she signs the form.
You return the form to the Client Registration Unit, along with the documentary evidence specified on the form.
You can track the progress of your medical card application at medicalcard.ie.
The HSE has FAQs on medical cards and medical cards/GP Visit Cards for people aged 70 and over.
If you have been refused a medical card and are not satisfied with the decision, you may have it reviewed. Your circumstances may have changed or you may have left out some relevant information from the original application. If you are not satisfied with the review you may make an appeal to the Appeals Office for your HSE Area. The contact details will also be contained in your letter of refusal. The Appeals Office will conduct a reassessment of your application. This will be conducted by HSE staff who were not involved in deciding on your original application.
Medical Card Assessment guidelines
The HSE has published assessment guidelines for medical card applications:
For further details, visit Citizens Information today: https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/health/medical_cards_and_gp_visit_cards/medical_card.html
*“Contains Irish Public Sector Data licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence”.