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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Help with prescription charges

October 8th, 2022 5:50 PM

By Southern Star Team

Conditions like diabetes, epilepsy and MS are covered by the long-term illness scheme. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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THERE are some schemes available which assist with the cost of prescribed medications and appliances and the qualifying conditions for each scheme is different.

Do I have to pay for prescriptions if I have a Medical Card?

If you have a medical card, there is a charge for prescribed medicines and other items that you get on prescription from pharmacies. The prescription charge is €1.50 for each item that is dispensed to you under the medical card scheme, up to a maximum of €15 per month per person or family. For people aged over 70, the prescription charge is €1 per item, up to a maximum of €10 per month per person or family.

If I have a GP Visit Card does it cover prescription charges?

No. Prescribed drugs are not free but may be covered by the Drugs Payment Scheme.

What is the Drug Payment Scheme?

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, you and your family only have to pay a maximum of €80 each month for approved prescribed drugs and medicines, and certain appliances. After you register for the scheme, you will get a plastic swipe card for each person named on the registration form. You should show this card whenever you collect your medication or appliances from the pharmacy. The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the Drugs Payment Scheme. You should use the same pharmacy in a month to avoid paying more than the maximum €80. You do not have to register with a pharmacy for the scheme.

You can apply for the Drugs Payment Scheme online at mydps.ie or by completing an application form which you can get from your local Citizens Information Centre or Local Health Office.

What is the Long-Term Illness Scheme?

If you have a medical condition covered by the Long-Term Illness Scheme, you can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition. The qualifying conditions include Diabetes, Epilepsy, Parkinsonism and Multiple Sclerosis. You can get a full list of the conditions covered under this scheme from your local Citizens Information Service.

You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland to qualify. This means that you are living here and intend to live here for at least one year. Students from outside the EU do not qualify for the Long-Term Illness Scheme.

The Long-Term Illness Scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances. You may also be eligible for a medical card or GP visit card, depending on your circumstances.

Can you tell me about the Discretionary Hardship Scheme?

The HSE Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PSRS) provides a list of medicines or aids provided under the medical card or Drugs Payment Scheme. These products are approved for the schemes by the HSE. Some items that can be bought over the counter are not included in the free or subsidised schemes.

If you have a medical card and are prescribed an item that is not on PCRS list, your pharmacist or Local Health Office can apply for it to be paid for by the Discretionary Hardship Scheme. If the hardship scheme does not cover the cost of the medicine and you have to pay for it, you may want to check with your doctor to see if there is an alternative medicine. You can get more information about the scheme from your pharmacist or Local Health Office.

Is there any tax relief for medical expenses?

If you pay medical expenses that are not covered by the State or by private health insurance, you can claim tax back on some of those expenses, which includes tax relief on medical expenses for prescribed drugs and medicines. You can claim tax relief online using Revenue’s myAccount service.

For further information call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in West Cork on 0818 07 8390. They will be happy to assist you and if necessary arrange an appointment for you. The offices are staffed from 10am-5pm from Monday to Thursday and on Friday from 10am-4pm.

Alternatively you can email [email protected] or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie

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