THE cost of being sick and older in Ireland "has now increased" according to an organisation for older citizens.
Older & Bolder says it is "alarmed" at the changes in medical card eligibility criteria announced as part of the Budget.
Director of the organisation Patricia Conboy said it is middle Ireland and older people on incomes just above the new threshold – particularly those living alone – that will be hit hardest.
"The security that the medical card provides, especially for older people with ill health, cannot be underestimated. We hear from people who would forgo their modest occupational pensions in order to retain their medical cards," Ms Conboy said.
Older & Bolder welcomed the retention of the State Pension at current levels, although it expressed concern at the reductions to telephone and electricity allowances.