Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, an individual or family in Ireland should not pay more than €144 each month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances for use by that person or his or her family in that month. If you have a GP Visit Card or do not have a Medical Card you should apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card.
You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland and hold a PPSN. There is no means test for the Drugs Payment Scheme.
Medical Cards allow people to access Family Doctor or GP services, community health services, dental services, prescription medicine costs, hospital care and a range of other benefits for a low cost or free of charge.
Prescription charges for Medical Card holders are now €1.50 per item – capped at a maximum of €19.50 per month per family.
If your income is below a certain level you can apply for a medical card.
GP Visit Cards can allow individuals and families in Ireland to visit their family doctor for free. Only the cost of visits to your family doctor is free; you must pay for prescribed drugs, medicines and other health services similar to others who don’t have a Medical Card.
If you are granted a GP Visit Card you should also apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card if you don’t already have one.
If you have certain long-term illnesses or disabilities, you may apply to join the Long Term Illness Scheme and you will be supplied with a Long Term Illness book. This book allows you to get drugs, medicines, and medical and surgical appliances directly related to the treatment of your illness, free of charge. It does not depend on your income or other circumstances and is separate from the Medical Card Scheme and the GP Visit Card Scheme.
If you already have been given a Medical Card, you do not need to apply for a Long Term Illness book. If you become ineligible for a Medical Card at any stage, but have one of the medical conditions below, you should apply to join the Long Term Illness scheme to cover the cost of your medication.
More information on the LTI Scheme here.
The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC allows the holder to access health care services when travelling to other EU or EEA countries. Anyone who is living in Ireland or intends to live here for a year can apply for an EHIC from the HSE.