Tuesday, 27 July 2021
Department of Health
2359. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to amend the medical card income thresholds to ensure that persons on social welfare incomes including pensions are not over the income threshold for medical cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37497/21]
Eligibility for a Medical Card is primarily based on a financial assessment which is conducted by the HSE in accordance with the Health Act 1970 (as amended). The HSE assesses each medical card application on a qualifying financial threshold. This is the amount of money that an individual can earn a week and still qualify for a card. It is specific to the individual’s own financial circumstances.
Persons aged 69 and under are assessed under the general means tested medical card thresholds which are based on an applicant’s household income after tax and the deduction of PRSI and the Universal Social Charge. Certain expenses are also taken into account, i.e. mortgage payments, which help to increase the amount a person can earn and still qualify for a medical card.
Persons aged 70 or older are assessed under the over 70s medical card income thresholds which are based on gross income. Last November I was delighted to increase the weekly gross medical card income thresholds for those aged 70 and over to €550 per week for a single person and €1050 for a couple. This welcome change was the first increase to the over 70s medical card thresholds in over 6 years.
It should also be noted that where a person's sole income is derived from a social welfare payment, even where this is more than the current means threshold, he/she will be awarded a medical card.
Furthermore, I wish to assure the Deputy that the current medical card income thresholds are kept under regular review and any changes are considered in the context of Government policy and the annual budgetary estimates process.