The Department of Health has estimated that 140,000 people over 70 years of age currently have an automatic entitlement to a medical card because of their age. These people did not have a medical card before they reached 70.
Following today’s Budget changes, which take effect from January 2009 , the Health Service Executive is to write to these 140,000 over 70’s group asking them to re-apply for a medical card, subject to a means test.
Mary Harney said that she expected that around 14,000 of these people over 70 would keep their full medical card, around 35,000 would receive a GP visit card and 70,000 would get a health support payment of €400 a year. The remaining 20,000 will not get any help benefit. A helpline is to be set up to assist people with queries.
LATEST INCOME RULES CHANGED OCT 17TH – SEE HERE
The weekly net income threshold for a full Medical card is €201.50 for a single person, €173.50 for a single person living with family and €298 for a married couple
The thresholds for a GP visit card are €302 for a single person, €260 for a single person living with family and €447 for a married couple.
The HSE say that these thresholds ares net of expenses like rent or mortgage, and regular medical expenses like GP fees, medications and appliances.
If over 70’s say they have to visit a GP once a week – this will be taken into consideration in the means test. GP’s could be very busy between now and January .
If over 70’s have income which is above these thresholds but below €650 for a single person and €1,300 for a married couple – they will still qualify for an annual cash payment of €400 each. (The health support payment)
Anyone with income over €650 each a week will have to fend for themselves. (Thats an annual net income of €33800) – paying €50 to €75 for a GP visit and possibly €100 for an A&E visit if they don’t go to the GP first.