All persons aged 70 years and over are entitled to a medical card regardless of their income – it is not means tested. However, certain retired people who are under 70 years of age may also qualify for a non means-tested medical card, namely those who previously lived and worked in another EU/EEA state or Switzerland.
Under EU Regulations a person who is in receipt of a contributory social security pension from an EU/EEA state or Switzerland and who is not in receipt of an Irish social welfare pension and they are not employed or self-employed in Ireland, may be entitled to a medical card regardless of income. An occupational pension in this regard would not affect entitlement to a non-means tested medical card.
The entitlement does not exist therefore if a person has a source of income in Ireland, either through employment or self employment or has an Irish social welfare pension. If a person has either of these then the normal rules apply and they would have to pass the means test or be over 70.
In order to obtain a medical card, those with a contributory social security pension from any of the EU/EEA states (other than the UK) or from Switzerland has to produce EU Form E121.
A person who has a UK contributory social security pension does not have to produce this form however documentary evidence of the pension must be provided on application.
If you have an Irish social welfare pension and you retire to another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you are entitled to avail of the health services in that country. You will need Form E121 to establish entitlement in the other country.
Further information is available from the Overseas Section of the HSE at Tel: 01-635 2379.