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Medical Cards

What is a Medical Card
A Medical Card is a laminated card, about the size of a credit card, issued by the HSE. People who hold a Medical Card are entitled to a range of Health Services free of charge.

What Health Services are available Free of Charge if I have a Medical Card?
You are entitled to the following services if you have a Medical Card:

  • Doctor Visits - a range of family doctor or GP services from a chosen doctor contracted to the HSE in your local area
  • Prescription Medicines: The supply of prescribed approved medicines, aids and appliances like wheelchairs, crutches etc. In some circumstances a deposit may be required for aids and appliances which will be refunded on return of the aid or appliance.
  • Certain Dental, Ophthalmic (Eye), and Aural (Ear) health services
  • Hospital Care - all in-patient services in public wards in public hospitals, including public consultant services
  • Hospital Visits - All out-patient services in public hospitals, including public consultant services
  • Maternity Cash Grant on the birth of each child
  • Medical & Midwifery Care for Mothers, including health care related to pregnancy and the care of the child for six weeks after birth
  • Some personal and social care services, for example, public health nursing, social work services and other community care services based on client need

You MAY also be entitled to the following additional benefits if you have a Medical Card:

  • No need to pay the health portion of your social insurance (PRSI)
  • Free transport to school for children who live 3 miles or more from the nearest school
  • Exemption from state examination fees in public second-level schools
  • Financial help with buying school books.

Am I Entitled to a Medical Card?
Anyone over the age of 16 years who is ordinarily resident in the State is entitled to apply for a Medical Card. Ordinarily resident means you are living here for a minimum of one year or you intend to live here for a minimum of one year. You can qualify for a Medical Card under the following three main categories:

  • Means Test: People (and their dependents) whose assessable income is within the financial
    guidelines. For details of the guidelines please refer to the rates leaflet provided with this booklet.
  • Undue Hardship: People whose assessable income is over the financial guidelines but the
    HSE decides that the financial burden of medical or other exceptional circumstances would cause undue hardship
  • Automatic: People who are automatically entitled to a Medical Card:
    - Those who are aged 70 years or over
    - Those with European Union entitlement
    - Those who are entitled to retain their Medical .
    - Card under government schemes
For more information on medical cards contact you local HSE office or visit www.hse.ie




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