Your Guide to Medical Cards

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A Medical Card is a plastic card, about the size of a credit card, issued by the HSE. People who hold a Medical Card are entitled to a range of Health Services free of charge.

What Health Services are available Free of Charge if I have a Medical Card?

You are entitled to the following services if you have a Medical Card:

  • Doctor Visits - a range of family doctor or GP services from a chosen doctor contracted to the HSE in your local area;
  • Prescription Medicines: The supply of prescribed approved medicines, aids and appliances like wheelchairs, crutches etc. In some circumstances a deposit may be required for aids and appliances which will be refunded on return of the aid or appliance. A €2.50 charge applies to all prescription medicines dispensed to medical card patients;
  • Certain Dental, Ophthalmic (Eye), and Aural (Ear) health services;
  • Hospital Care - all in-patient services in public wards in public hospitals, including public consultant services;
  • Hospital Visits - All out-patient services in public hospitals, including public consultant services;
  • Medical & Midwifery Care for Mothers, including health care related to pregnancy and the care of the child for six weeks after birth;
  • Some personal and social care services, for example, public health nursing, social work services and other community care services based on client need.
You may also be entitled to the following additional benefits if you have a Medical Card:
  • No need to pay the health portion of your social insurance (PRSI);
  • Free transport to school for children who live 3 miles or more from the nearest school;
  • Exemption from state examination fees in public second-level schools;
  • Financial help with buying school books. The benefits above are available from the relevant government department.

The HSE is committed to ensuring that everyone who is eligible for a medical card received one as quickly as possible and that those who are no longer eligible do not continue to hold cards.  If you are not eligible for a medical card, you may be eligible for a GP Visit Card or the Long Term Illness Scheme.