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Friday 19 September 2014

Q&A: Medical Cards

Published 18/06/2014 | 02:30

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Q. Some 15,300 discretionary medical cards are to be restored – who exactly will this benefit?

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* It is confined to people who had a discretionary medical card or GP visit card since 2011. And only those who were originally granted a card and later lost it after taking part in an HSE review will have them returned.

If the cardholder did not co-operate and let the card lapse, they are not automatically included.

Q. Do you have a breakdown of the cards to be restored?

* Some 7,118 who were downgraded to a GP visit card will go back to getting a full medical card. Another 5,288 who lost a medical card will have it restored.

Around 2,899 will have their GP visit card restored. The cards are valid until July 2015.

Q. Do these people have to contact the HSE now?

* No, the HSE says it has all the records and will contact the cardholders in about three weeks. But if you have concerns, be sure to get on to the HSE.

Q. What about those who may have been too ill or just not able for the review process at the time? Are they now out of the loop entirely?

* The HSE says that if people can give a good valid reason why they did not engage with the review before losing the card, and still suffer from financial hardship due to a medical condition, then "mercy" will be shown.

Q. I never had a discretionary card but applied for one and was turned down. Am I included?

* No, only those who had a full medical card or a GP visit card and had it removed between July 1, 2011 and May 31, 2014 are included.

Q. I want to apply for a discretionary card now – will I find it easier to get one?

* Unlikely. The same means and financial hardship test will be applied as previously.

Irish Independent

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