Press Release

Applications invited for 200,000 new GP Visit Cards

Applications invited for 200,000 new GP Visit Cards – Improved eligibility assessment system to apply for medical cards

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children today (23 June) announced that implementation of the new GP Visit Cards has now commenced.

Starting this weekend, advertisements will be placed by the Health Service Executive in the national newspapers inviting applications for the GP Visit Cards which provide access free of charge to general practitioner services.

These advertisements will indicate the income limits to help people decide whether they should make an application under the scheme.

In addition, applications for the GP Visit Cards and for traditional medical cards will be assessed under an improved assessment system, which has been approved by the Tánaiste.

Assessments will be made on the basis of disposable income – income that is available to the applicant after deduction of income tax and social insurance contributions. Reasonable expenses for house mortgage/rental payments, child care and travel to work costs will be allowed before net income is arrived at.

In certain circumstances where hardship or undue burden is assessed, a medical card or GP Visit Card may be approved for individuals or families whose disposable income exceeds the financial guidelines.

Speaking today the Tánaiste said – “People can now apply to the Health Services Executive for the new cards and I would encourage people with low disposable income to apply for them right away.”

“The reformed assessment system provides a more modern, fairer and simpler approach to eligibility for both medical cards and GP Visit Cards. It will also be the foundation for further development of these important benefits in the future.”

“In addition to the 30,000 new medical cards we have budgeted for this year, I expect that the Doctor Visit cards will benefit 200,000 people. We will be monitoring the take-up to ensure that the benefits we are funding actually get to people.

“With the same budget, we can support four times more people visiting their doctor free with this card than with the traditional medical card. People on low incomes should not be put off bringing their children to the doctor because of the cost.

“In total over 1.3 million people will now have free access to their GP, which represents approximately one third of our population. ”