Government signs off on free contraception for 17-25 year olds

Government signs off on free contraception for 17-25 year olds

Costs for the pill and similar repeat prescription contraceptives can be estimated at €65-100 every six months, and the initial costs of long-acting reversible contraception typically range from €250-€320. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has received Government approval to bring a Committee Stage amendment to provide for the free contraception scheme for women aged 17-25.

Mr Donnelly said that the proposed contraception amendment aims to remove cost barriers to contraception for women aged 17-25.

It is expected to be particularly significant for those who are just above the means-tested limits for medical and GP visit cards, or who may still be in full-time education and financially dependent on parents and guardians.

Those with full eligibility for a medical card already have access to most forms of contraception at minimal cost.

The Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS), for which anyone ordinarily resident in Ireland is eligible, covers the cost of prescription items, including Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs), above a limit of €80 per month.

However, Mr Donnelly said it has been recognised that the cost of accessing contraception, particularly for those who may still be dependent on parents or guardians, or who may be just above the means-tested thresholds for the GMS and GP Visit cards, may impose a significant barrier to access.

Costs for the pill and similar repeat prescription contraceptives can therefore be estimated at €65-100 every six months, and the initial costs of long-acting reversible contraception typically range from €250-€320.

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