Question: What is an emergency medical card, and when would I be entitled to one?
Answer: An emergency medical card is a temporary medical card that is issued without a means test in certain emergency situations and is valid for six months.
For example, you could be issued an emergency medical card in an acute medical crisis where you need urgent treatment that you cannot afford without a medical card.
Only a healthcare professional (for example, a doctor or consultant) can apply for an emergency medical card for you. They must include a detailed medical report with the application.
The application will be reviewed by a Health Service Executive (HSE) medical officer.
If your application is approved, it can take seven to 10 days to get your emergency medical card in the post. However, your card will be active straight away so you can get the care you need.
You will need to complete a means assessment before your emergency medical card expires. The HSE will write to you when you need to do this. The means assessment is for a full medical card for you and your family.
In some cases, the medical officer may recommend a terminal illness card. These are given to people who are getting ‘end of life’ treatment. This means a prognosis of less than 12 months to live.
If you get a terminal illness card it will never be reviewed and will not expire.
Information is available from the National Medical Card Unit on (051) 595 129, or Lo-call 1890 252 919.
Further information is available from citizensinformation.ie and the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. Information is also available from your local Citizens Information Office at: Newbridge CIC, Cutlery Road, Newbridge, tel: 0761 07 8300; Naas CIC, Basin Street, Naas; tel: 0761 07 8280.