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Health

12th Sep 2023

How to apply for GP visit card as thousands are eligible for free care

“This expansion of the GP Visit Card scheme is a significant milestone”

The scheme, which aims to provide free GP care to an estimated 430,000 people in Ireland, is now accepting applications via the HSE website.

Yesterday (September 11th), an estimated 215,000 people became eligible for free GP care and saw the first of two phases of the HSE’s GP Visit Card Scheme roll out. The second phase is expected in November.

The scheme is being operated on a means-test basis, which will take a person’s or family’s circumstances, income, and expenses into account, and people earning under €46,000 will be able to avail of the free GP Visit Card service.

All those who earn under €46,000 will be able to avail of the service, and the weekly income threshold is also expected to increase in November.

Since yesterday, the amount someone is earning to still be eligible for a means-tested GP visit card has been increased.

This will see the Weekly Based Eligibility Threshold (WBET) for a single person living alone increase from €304 to €361.

The WBET for a single person living with family has increased from €271 to €322, the WBET for a couple with or without dependent(s) has increased from €441 to €524, and for couple(s) with dependents, a weekly allowance per dependent has been added to the threshold.

For a one-parent family, the WBET has increased from €441 to €524; a weekly allowance per dependent is added to the threshold.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, said yesterday that this expansion was a ‘significant milestone’ and the biggest in the state’s history, and they hope to have 500,000 people covered by GP Visit Cards.

“Many people aged between 8 and 69 who currently see their GP care on a private basis may now be eligible for a means-tested GP visit card. A simplified online application process is available from today on the HSE website.

“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.”

Children aged under eight and pensioners aged 70 and over automatically qualify to get the free GP Visit Card. Carers can also apply for a GP Visit Card by post or online.

As of yesterday, people up to the age of 69 and parents of children aged 8 and up can also apply for a means-tested GP Visit Card on the HSE website.

Applications can be filled out here.

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