Medical card applications can now be completed and submitted online through the HSE’s new medicalcard.ie system.
Applicants can check the status of their application and their eligibility for a GP-visit card through the new online system, launched last week. A checklist can be printed and the application can be submitted online with the required documents attached.
At its launch, the Executive pledged that all medical card applications correctly submitted online would be process within 15 days.
Traditionally, when people made a written application to find out if they were eligible, the process could often took months to complete.
HSE CEO Prof Brendan Drumm said the new website was an important building block for easier access to health services.
“Medical cards and GP visit cards are very important for people, particularly for those who depend on a number of different services for themselves and their families.
“They are the gateway to a whole host of services — free GP visits, free medicines, free dental care as well as a number of other services such as all inpatient public hospital services in a public ward (including consultant services), all outpatient public hospital services in a public ward, maternity and infant care services, ophthalmic and aural services,” he added.
Paddy Burke, Head of the HSE’s Primary Care Reimbursement Service, said he hoped to receive constructive feedback from users and advocacy groups to improve the website over the coming months.
“The service will be of interest to thousands of people who simply wish to verify eligibility and more than 90 per cent of applicants who automatically qualify for a medical card based on their income will be able to use the website to apply for their cards.
“Users will be able to call the lo-call phone number 1890-252-919 if they need assistance when using the site,” he added.
On June 1, the total number of eligible medical cards holders was 1,547,507. This represents approximately 35 per cent of the total population, a 21 per cent increase in the number in receipt of medical cards since January 2008.
Irish Medical Times first revealed details of the new HSE website last December.