What a medical card covers

If you have a medical card you don't have to pay to see your doctor, or for 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 is ‘ordinarily resident’ in the Republic of Ireland can apply for a medical card or GP visit card. This includes families, single people, even those working full or part-time. ‘Ordinarily resident’ means that you are living here and intend to live here for at least one year.

Check if you might be eligible

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 will need to 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: 21 October 2018
Next review due: 21 October 2021