There have been widespread reports of long delays in the renewal of expired medical cards in recent months. To try and speed up the renewal process it has now been announced that many medical card holders will have reviews of their eligibility carried out on a self-assessment basis.
Eligibility for a medical card is currently reviewed every two years. Information about income is requested and a means test is carried out. There are over 1.6 million people with Medical cards in Ireland.
In the future, reviews or renewals for all medical card holders who are 66 years or over will operate on a self-assessment basis, as currently happens with over 70s medical cards. So renewal should be almost automatic – once confirmation is received that the holder is still living .
Medical card holders under 66 who were granted their medical card on the basis of a means test – will also be renewed on a self assessment basis. No income checks or details will be requested.
Also – the HSE is extending the renewal period from two to three years for people under 66, and there will be a new four-year eligibility period for those aged 66 and over.
Medical card holders are still obliged to notify the HSE of any change in their circumstances which might affect their medical card entitlement.
A medical card holder who genuinely engages with a review of their card is not supposed to have the card withdrawn before the review is completed. The HSE is apparently taking steps to ensure this rule is properly implemented.