A new online service that allows people to find out straight away if they are eligible for a medical card is now available from the HSE.
It allows applicants to scan and upload documents and other information, and no longer requires a visit to a GP to stamp paper forms.
Anyone submitting their financial details as part of their online application will be informed immediately if they qualify for a medical card.
It promises to be a safe, quick, and easy way for people to register online, with completed applications processed within 15 working days.
Almost 440,000 applications were received by the National Medical Card Unit last year.
A medical card allows the holder to receive specific health services free of charge. Their dependent spouse, partner and children are also covered.
To qualify for a medical card a person’s weekly income must be below a particular figure for their family size. Cash income, savings, investments and property, but not the person’s own home, are taken into account in the means test.
Health Minister Simon Harris said the new online service put the applicant at the centre of the process.
He was sure that, in time, the online service would become the preferred application method for those applying for the first time and those seeking renewal.
“I would urge anyone who needs to apply for a medical card to log on to the new system and see how easy it is,” said Mr Harris.
HSE assistant national director, Anne Marie Hoey, said people aged 16 and older would be able to apply or renew their medical card eligibility using their computer, tablet or mobile phone.
“The launch of the national medical card online service makes it as easy as possible for people to apply for medical card eligibility,” said Ms Hoey.
The online system allows a GP to accept successful applicants onto their panel.
Also, if the HSE needs to contact applicants, it can be done by emailing them instead of writing letters.
The service is available at medicalcard.ie.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved