An additional 215,000 people are eligible for free GP care from today (Monday, September 11).
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced that the qualifying financial threshold for eligibility for the GP visit card has increased, expanding the number of eligible children and adults. The thresholds apply to people aged 8-69, with the under-8s and people aged 70 and over already automatically eligible for free GP care.
“This expansion of the GP visit card scheme will help people to manage the cost-of-living challenges we face, and I encourage those who may be eligible to apply now,” Minister Donnelly said.
Today’s development is the first of two phases of expansion which will provide free GP care to an estimated 430,000 people in Ireland on a means-tested basis. The second phase will take place in November. Last month free GP care was also made available to 78,000 children aged 6 and 7.
Under the expansion announced today:
- The weekly income threshold for a single person living alone increased from €304 to €361.
- The weekly income threshold for a single person living with family increased from €271 to €322.
- The weekly income threshold for a couple without dependent(s), a couple with dependent(s) or a one-parent family increased from €441 to €524.
The expansion is supported by the agreement between the Department of Health, the HSE and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) which put in place a series of financial supports for GPs.
“I am delighted that we will be implementing this expansion with the agreement of the IMO,” Minister Donnelly added. “We collaborated successfully with general practice through the period of the Covid pandemic, when GPs displayed an extraordinary commitment to delivering patient care. I look forward to continuing our collaboration as we embark on this historic expansion of free GP care.
“The expansion of the GP visit card scheme in 2023 is a significant milestone as we bring free GP care to close to 500,000 people this year. I am committed to ensuring affordable access for people in Ireland who are facing the toughest economic challenges. Removing the cost barrier to visiting their GP gives them better access to health care and supports their health and wellbeing.”