Medical Card Campaign

Revised Medical Card Scheme Launched

In 2014 the HSE appointed an expert panel to examine and recommend the range of medical conditions that should be considered when determining if someone is eligible for a medical card. The expert panel was due to identify a list of medical conditions that would benefit most from medical card eligibility in order of priority.
Due to the financial cost of dementia and the health benefits of having a medical card for people with the condition, we submitted that it was critically important that dementia be included on this list; however, the expert panel concluded that it is not possible to list medical conditions in order of priority and that financial hardship or means testing should remain the main factor in deciding who receives a medical card. 
We believe that access to a medical card should be on the basis of medical need, not merely on the basis of financial hardship. Supporting access to primary and secondary care services via the medical card is an essential part of ensuring an integrated and multi-disciplinary response to the primary and secondary care needs of people with dementia. 
A revised system for discretionary medical cards was launched by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar in November. While financial hardship or means testing will remain the main factor in deciding who receives a medical card, there will now be an enhanced assessment process which takes into account the burden of an illness or a condition.
Under this new system a person who is assessed as being under financial stress due to illness may be granted a discretionary medical card even if he/she is over the income limit. Guidelines will be developed for measuring and assessing medical hardship or the burden of a particular condition. 
While the decision whether to grant a medical card will continue to be made by the HSE, under the new system there will be more information obtained from local sources. One application will now be used for a medical card, GP visit card, long-term illness card and the Drugs Payment Scheme.
The HSE is due to take ten specific actions to improve the medical card system:
Further information on the medical card is available on the Citizens Information website
You can click on the link below to read our extended submission on medical card eligibility for people with dementia.

More information

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