Press Release

Tánaiste announces increase in means test for GP Visit Card

Basic income guideline now 50% above medical card level.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, T.D., today announced that she has increased the basic income guideline for the GP Visit card.

The basic income element of the means test was set at 25 per cent above the medical card income guideline. The Tánaiste has now increased that to 50 per cent.

This increase coincides with a major new advertising and public awareness campaign on GP Visit Cards by the HSE.

The Tánaiste said ‘The Government wants to make it as easy as possible for people to get the new GP Visit Card. The card is designed to help people on moderate incomes to visit their GP free of charge.’

‘Last year, I made significant changes in the means test for the medical card and GP visit card. The test is now after tax and PRSI, and also takes account of all reasonable mortgage or rent costs, travel to work expenses and childcare costs. The basic income guideline is just one element of the means test.’

‘After the change today, the GP Visit Card should be available to the following people with typical outgoings and the following income after tax and PRSI:

  • a couple with two children earning about €1,200 a week, €63,400 a year;
  • a couple with four children earning about €1,580 a week, €82,160 a year;
  • a single parent with one child earning about €1,000 a week, €52,000 a year;
  • a single person with no dependants earning about €426 a week, €22,152 a year.’

‘The relevant salaries can be well above the average industrial wage.’

‘So far, approximately 18,000 people have GP Visit Cards. The Government has allocated funding this year for 200,000 cards. Many people are only becoming aware that this benefit exists for them. We are still in the early days of this new card.’

‘I encourage more people to apply. The HSE is working to keep the administration simple. I am asking the HSE to review recent unsuccessful applications to see whether they now qualify.’

‘I also welcome the HSE advertising campaign to raise awareness of this important benefit.’

‘Applications can be made at HSE local offices.’