Feb 27th, 2017
Local Cabinet Minister Denis Naughten has confirmed that the reduction in the prescription charge for medical card holders aged over 70 will come into effect tomorrow March 1st following this morning’s Cabinet meeting to copper-fasten the reduced charges in law that were announced in Budget 2017.
“The change will result in savings from tomorrow for many of the older members of our community,” stated Minister Naughten. “It is estimated that across the country approximately 330,000 medical card holders aged 70 and over will benefit from this measure.”
The Health (Amendment) Bill 2017 finalised by Cabinet reduces the prescription charge for medical card holders aged 70+ to €2 per item, subject to a cap of €20 per person or family per month from 1 March 2017.
The allocation of medical cards for all children who qualify for Domiciliary Care Allowance is also being finalised at Cabinet as part of the Health (Amendment) Bill 2017 to safeguard in legislation this new measure. The Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is a non-means-tested monthly payment in respect of a child under 16 years who requires ongoing care substantially more than usually required by a child of the same age. The DCA is currently payable in respect of approximately 33,000 children aged under 16 yearswith a severe disability. Of these approximately 9,800 children do not qualify for a medical card.
“There are many families locally who are caring for sick children and who face mounting costs in terms of medical expenses. These are the families we need to be supporting, “ stated Minister Naughten. “These are children who require ongoing care and attention substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child of the same age. Approximately 9,800 children – or one-third of DCA recipients – currently do not qualify for a medical card but this measure will change that and ensure they receive a full medical card,” stated Minister Naughten. “An online pre-registration system for this measure is expected to be available from 1 May 2017,” added Minister Naughten.