A range of measures that will make healthcare more affordable for more than a million people across the country came into effect on November 1, 2020.
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, secured the funding to introduce these three major measures.
They include increases in the over 70s medical card income limits, a reduction in the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold by €10 to €114 per month and a €0.50c reduction in prescription charges for all medical card holders.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said: “Making healthcare more affordable is a key priority for this Government. These measures will ease the financial burden on over one million people across the country. The measures are wide-ranging, and will benefit both young and old, single and those in families.
“In particular, giving more people over 70 access to medical cards will benefit their quality of life and help them to live healthier, active lives for longer.”
He added: “The winter ahead will be challenging as we continue to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. These new measures will help people throughout this winter and for many years to come.
“I would like to also take this opportunity to encourage everyone who needs medical attention to seek it immediately. Our hospitals are open and our doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are treating patients.
“If you have any concerns about your health, please contact your GP straight away.”
- Under the new measures, the over 70s medical card income limits have increased to €550 per week for a single person (currently €500 per week) and to €1050 for a couple (currently €900 per week). This will benefit up to 56,000 people.
- There has also been a 50 cent reduction in prescription charges for all medical card holders, which will benefit over 1.58 million people with medical card eligibility. Eligible people under 70 will now only pay a maximum of €15 per month for prescribed medicines. Those over 70 will only pay a maximum of €10 per month for prescribed medicines.
- When introduced in 2012, the Drugs Payment Scheme threshold was set at €144 per month. The reduction to €114 per month has now the potential to benefit all 1.38 million people eligible under the scheme.