Government Scheme Entitlements

Medical Card

If you have a medical card, there is a charge for prescribed medicines and other items that you get on prescription from pharmacies.The prescription charge is €1.50 for each item that is dispensed to you under the medical card scheme, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family.

For people aged over 70, the prescription charge will be €1 per item, up to a maximum of €10 per month per person or family.

Medical card holders who do not pay the prescription charge.

Certain people and certain products are not liable for the prescription charge:

  • People who qualify for the Long Term Illness Scheme are entitled to get the drugs and medicines for the treatment of that illness free of charge.
  • People who have a Health Amendment Act Card are entitled to get approved prescribed drugs and medicines free of charge.
  • Children in the care of the HSE who have their own medical card. This includes children in residential care, foster care, foster care with relatives and other care placements.
  • Asylum seekers living in direct provision accommodation.
  • There is no charge for methadone supplied to patients participating in the Methadone Treatment Scheme.
  • High Tech products and medicines, usually only prescribed in hospitals, for example anti-rejection drugs for transplant patients or medicines used in conjunction with chemotherapy. As the supply of High Tech Medicines operates on the basis of a patient care fee, a prescription charge does not apply.

GP Visit cards

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.

Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS)

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you pay a maximum of €114 in a calendar month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances for use by yourself and your family in that month.

If a reference price has been set for the drugs you are prescribed, this is the price that the HSE will use to calculate your monthly drugs costs.
In order to qualify for this scheme, you must be ordinarily resident in Ireland. Being ordinarily resident in Ireland means that you have been living here for a minimum of one year or that you intend to live here for a minimum of one year.

The scheme covers the person who applied, his or her spouse/partner, and children aged under 18 (or under 23 if in full-time education).

A family member who has a physical or intellectual disability or an illness and is unable to fully maintain himself/herself can be included in the family expenditure regardless of age.

When you register for the scheme, you will get a plastic swipe card for each person named on the registration form. You should present this card whenever you are having prescriptions filled.

Using the card

You do not have to register with a particular pharmacy for the scheme but for convenience it is advisable to use the same pharmacy in a particular month if you wish to avoid paying more than the maximum €114.

Long Term Illness Scheme (LTI)

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.

LTI scheme covers the following illnesses:

  • Acute Leukaemia
  • Mental handicap
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Mental Illness (in a person under 16)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Diabetes Insipidus
  • Muscular Dystrophies
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Parkinsonism
  • Epilepsy
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Haemophilia
  • Spina Bifida
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Conditions arising from the use of Thalidomide


European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC allows the holder to access health care services when traveling 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.

Further information for all of these entitlements is available on the HSE website.

Health Insurers

  • VHI
  • Aviva
  • Laya Healthcare
  • Glo Health
  • Heath Insurance Authority