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Medical Cards – Ireland

A medical card issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland enables the bearer to receive certain health services free of charge.

Unless you have a medical card, visits to family doctors in Ireland are not free.

Medical Cards

Source: HSE – All about Medical Cards

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 free of charge.

Most people who get a Medical Card do so because their income is below a certain level. It is also possible to get a Medical Card if the costs of meeting medical needs causes financial hardship, or if they have entitlement under EU regulations.

Medical card holders are exempt from paying the Health Levy portion of social insurance. They may also be exempt from paying school transport charges or state examination fees in public second-level schools and could receive financial help with buying school books.

Over 70s

From 5th August 2015 everyone aged 70 or over, ordinarily resident in Ireland, will be eligible for free GP care regardless of income.
All people aged 70 or over who do not have a Medical Card or GP Visit card can register to access this service.
Register online at or download the registration form.

Further information can be found at

How and Where do I apply?

HSE have a helpful section on their website – How to apply – which has links to the online application form and videos to explain the application process.

You can apply for a Medical Card online or by post

Completed forms should be sent to

Client Registration Unit,
P.O. Box 11745,
Dublin 11.

If you have any questions before you send your application Lo-Call 1890 252 919 or contact your Local Health Office

The checklist below will help you to fill in the form properly:

  • Have you provided your own PPSN (Personal Public Service Number) and PPSNs for your spouse and all your dependents?
  • Have you filled in all the sections that apply to yourself and your family?
  • If you are employed, have you attached a recent payslip showing your earnings and a P60 form?
  • If you are self-employed, have you attached a recent income assessment notice from the Inspector of Taxes or a set of recent trading accounts?
  • Have you signed and dated the form?
  • Has your doctor signed the form?

More detailed information can be found at HSE – All about Medical Cards

GP Visit Card

A GP Visit Cards allows 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 have a GP Visit Card you should also apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card if you don’t already have one.

The same application form is used for both the Medical Card and the GP Visit Card. This means that you don’t have to worry about which type of card might best suit you – HSE will check your eligibility for both cards.

For further information please see Your Guide to GP Visit Cards on the HSE website.

Further Questions

The HSE has a comprehensive guide to Medical Cards on its website:see the Q&A section ‘All about Medical Cards

Answers to the following questions are included on this webpage:

  • What is a Medical Card?
  • What Health Services are available Free of Charge if I have a Medical Card?
  • Am I Entitled to a Medical Card?
  • To Qualify for a Medical Card – by means test, hardship, or EU entitlement
  • Can I retain my card if I return to work?
  • Can I get a Braille card if I am visually impaired?
  • How Long Does the Medical Card Last?
  • When Can I Apply?
  • How do I Apply?
  • What happens if I move to another HSE Local Health Office Area?
  • What happends when my child turns 16?
  • Can I Use my Medical Card on Holiday?
  • What If I Am Not Eligible for a Medical Card?
  • New Over 70’s Medical Card Review Process

Links to the online application process, form downloads and other usefule information can be found on the HSE Medical Cards and GP Visits homepage

Cross-Border Issues

  • Frontier workers – If you live in one jurisdiction and work in another you may be eligible for healthcare both where you live and where you work.
    Please see Border People Healthcare for Frontier Workers
  • EU pensioners resident in Ireland and who are in receipt of a qualifying pension, as evidenced by form E121, are entitled to a Medical Card provided they are not subject to Irish social security legislation. Pensioners from the UK must provide proof that they are in receipt of a UK social security pension.
    See Medical cards / Over 70s: Guidelines on income and capital on the Citizens Information website
  • Dependants resident in Ireland of pensioners with entitlement under EU legislation are entitled to a medical card on production of form E121 provided the dependants are not subject to Irish social security legislation.
    See Medical cards / Over 70s: Guidelines on income and capital on the Citizens Information website
  • Irish and UK nationals travelling in the Common Travel Area (i.e., between Ireland and the UK) are not obliged to carry a European Health Insurance Card. In order to obtain immediately necessary [e.g. emergency] healthcare in either country, Irish or UK nationals simply provide evidence of residence in either country, such as driver’s licence, passport etc
    See Border People European Health Insurance Card

See also: