General Medical Card Scheme

Medical Card Scheme

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 €1.50 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
  • Maternity Cash Grant on the birth of each child
  • 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.

How do I apply?

You can apply for a Medical Card online or by post. Or click here to watch this short video. It explains the information the HSE need and the documents you need to send us so they can assess your application.

Apply online – for General Medical Cards

The quickest way to apply for a medical card is online.
Click here to apply online

If your online application is successful you will have your medical card within 15 days. You can also check online the progress of your application if this has been submitted to the central processing office in Finglas, the current status of your medical card or submit a query to our central processing office.

Make sure you have all the information you need to hand such as your PPS number and those of your dependents, a recent payslip, details of your income and outgoings on tax, PRSI, rent and mortgage etc.

Apply for Cards for People aged 70 or over

Details of how to apply for a Medical Card or GP Visit Card if you are aged 70 or over are on this page, along with the special Application Form.

Apply by post

Click here to download a medical card application form.  Forms are also available from your Local Health Office

Filling in the Form Properly

The checklist below will help you to fill in the form properly:

Please check that you have completed the following:

  • Have you provided your own PPSN (Personal Public Service Number) and PPSNs for your spouse and all your dependents?
  • Have you filled in all the sections that apply to yourself and your family?
  • If you are employed, have you attached a recent payslip showing your earnings and a P60 form?
  • If you are self-employed, have you attached a recent income assessment notice from the Inspector of Taxes or a set of recent trading accounts?
  • Have you signed and dated the form?
  • Has your doctor signed the form?

Failure to fill out all sections fully may result in delays.

Completed forms should be sent to

Client Registration Unit,
P.O. Box 11745,
Dublin 11.

If you have any questions before you send your application Lo-Call 1890 252 919 or contact your Local Health Office.

If your application is successful, you will receive a card for yourself and one for each eligible member of your family included on the form. Dependents such as students over 16 and under 25 years must apply separately. Keep your card safe as you need it each time you use any of the services e.g. visit the doctor or chemist.