Am I entitled to free medication for my epilepsy?
Yes. Everyone with epilepsy is entitled to free epilepsy medication. The schemes for free medication are the Long term Illness Scheme and the Medical Card Scheme (PCRS).
What is the Long Term Illness Scheme (LTIS)?
The Long Term Illness Scheme covers medication for 16 specified illnesses including epilepsy. It is granted regardless of your income or means if you are not entitled to a full medical card. More information about the scheme can be found at https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/lti/.
To apply you can contact your local health centre for an application form to be completed by yourself and your doctor. Forms can also be downloaded from the Health Service Executive website here https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/lti/ltiform.pdf.
Prescription charges do not apply to the LTIS.
I have a full medical card. Can I avoid prescription charges for epilepsy medication?
Yes. Medication is free to full medical card holders but prescription charges apply which are €2 per item (or €1.50 per item for the over 70's). However, the HSE also allow full medical card holders with certain medical conditions to apply for the Long Term Illness Scheme to cover the cost of their medication for their particular condition. Epilepsy is one of these conditions. In this way if you have a full medical card you can avoid the prescription charges on epilepsy medication if you apply for the Long Term Illness Scheme also. You will still be liable for prescription charges on non epilepsy related prescribed medications.
I have a GP visit card. Can I get free medication too?
Yes. GP visit card holders can get their epilepsy medication free by also applying for the Long Term Illness Scheme.
How do I qualify for a medical card ?
You can check if you meet the income limits and view details of the means tests assessment on the Citizens Information website
People on low incomes may be awarded a medical card through the Primary Care Re-Imbursement Scheme ( PCRS). There are two types of medical card. The full medical card covers doctor visits, public hospital outpatient and inpatient cover and prescribed medication. The GP Visit card covers access to free GP care only and not the cost of prescriptions. A means test applies but income thresholds for individuals and families are higher than for the full medical card.
To qualify for a full medical card, household income must be below a certain level. This level is adjusted every year, and it varies too according to whether you are single or married, the number of children in the family and any rent or mortgage you are paying and some travel expenses. In some cases, persons whose income is above the guidelines may still be given a medical card:
- If the HSE consider that they are unable to provide the necessary care for themselves and their family. A medical card may be awarded to an individual member of the family on an individual basis. Income regarded is gross income less PRSI contributions.
- If someone who is over the income threshold has difficulty meeting the costs of their medical needs they may apply to the discretionary medical card scheme operated by the HSE.
How to apply:
Application forms are available at your HSE health centre or from www.hse.ie. In an emergency, you may be able to claim short‐term assistance with medical costs from the Dept of Social Protection. It is the same form and application process for both full and GP visit cards. Different income thresholds do apply for individuals and couples under and over 70 years.