Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

What a medical card covers

If you have a medical card you don't have to pay to see your GP (doctor) or for most medicines they prescribe.

A medical card also covers:

  • public out-patient and in-patient services
  • eye and ear tests
  • dental checks

Prescription charges may apply.

Check if you can apply

Anyone who lives in the Republic of Ireland and plans to live there for at least 1 year can apply for a medical card.

Being eligible for a medical card depends on your circumstances. If you do not automatically qualify for a medical card, we will carry out an assessment.

You must provide information about your:

  • income
  • expenses
  • marital status
  • dependants

If you're not eligible for a medical card, we will then automatically assess you for a GP visit card.

People who automatically qualify

You may automatically qualify for a medical card if you:

  • are participating in certain government schemes
  • have been affected by the drug Thalidomide
  • have had a surgical Symphysiotomy
  • are a child diagnosed with cancer within the last 5 years
  • are in foster care
  • live in direct provision
  • qualify under EU Regulations

For any of these you will not be subject to a financial assessment. But you will still need to apply.

Read about the Redress Scheme for Women Resident in Certain Institutions.

Page last reviewed: 20 January 2023