17 October 2013
Question (Deputy Jerry Buttimer)
To ask the Minister for Health and the HSE, regarding medical cards for people with disability, particularly those with Down’s Syndrome, to outline the eligibility criteria that applies and previous and current practices in awarding such medical cards.
Medical Cards are granted to persons who cannot arrange general practitioner medical and surgical services without undue financial hardship. Medical cards are not granted on the basis of a person’s medical condition alone, without regard to their financial means.
Eligibility for a medical card is assessed in line with national guidelines. The first test in the assessment process is to determine if, pursuant to guidelines, the applicant is within the financial thresholds, applicable to their personal or family circumstances.
If the applicant is above the financial thresholds and there is evidence of circumstances (medical or social) applicable to the applicant and his/her dependents, which might result in undue financial hardship in arranging GP, medical and surgical services, the granting of eligibility, to Medical Card or a GP Visit Card, on a discretionary basis, remains a routine aspect of the eligibility assessment process.
A person with Down’s syndrome is entitled to a Long Term Illness book irrespective of income. Long Term Illness applications are processed by HSE Local Health offices.