Medical card eligibility for terminally ill extended

The extension of medical card eligibility for those with a terminal illness will offer “reassurance and certainty” at what has been described as “an incredibly difficult time”.

The move to extend eligibility was welcomed by Fianna Fáil Deputy Brendan Smith. The expanded access to medical cards will make them available to the terminally ill and those who have a prognosis of up to 24 months.

Commenting on the decision Deputy Smith said: “Having the security of a medical card when someone is terminally ill can offer such reassurance.”

Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly, directed the HSE to put in place arrangements to enable all those with a prognosis of up to 24 months. Up to now, all those who have a prognosis of up to 12 months meet the ‘end of life’ criteria for eligibility for a medical card.

This new arrangement will confer a benefit to patients with diagnoses across a range of specialities such as: Neurology; Cardiology; Respiratory; and Oncology.

Last November, the Clinical Advisory Group established by the HSE to examine this issue recommended legislative change to extend medical card eligibility in cases of terminal illness. The administrative scheme announced today will be in place for 12 months, pending the development of legislative options, which is currently being examined by the Department of Health.