Pen­sion­ers an­gry over med­i­cal card fi­asco

Bray People - - About Greystones -

THE 2008 BUD­GET was al­ways likely to stir up plenty of con­tro­versy but prior last week, not many peo­ple were pre­dict­ing the prospect of thou­sands of pen­sion­ers los­ing their med­i­cal cards.

The loss of a full med­i­cal card would have left peo­ple li­able for GP fees, A&E charges, overnight pub­lic hospi­tal bed charges and medicine bills.

Since the an­nounce­ment of the cut­backs, the gov­ern­ment has been forced into a hu­mil­i­at­ing change, say­ing that peo­ple cur­rently on med­i­cal cards will re­tain them and from next year any­one over 70 ‘ earn­ing’ less than ¤36,500 a year will still be en­ti­tled to one.

Peggy O’Sul­li­van of the Wick­low Ac­tive Re­tire­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, said there was com­plete out­rage over the whole thing.

‘Peo­ple weren’t happy and were ab­so­lutely fu­ri­ous. There are a few mem­bers on so­cial wel­fare so it won’t af­fect them but plenty of other peo­ple will be caught out,’ says Peggy.

It still isn’t clear how ‘All I know is that there was a great deal of shock in the af­ter­math of the bud­get.’

Un­der the changes an­nounced yes­ter­day, peo­ple aged over 70 whose (gross) weekly in­come is ¤700 (¤36,500 pa) or ¤1,400 (¤73,000 pa) for a cou­ple will con­tinue to have a full med­i­cal card. And sav­ings will not count to­wards the thresh­old, only in­come from sav­ings.

A hike in A&E costs will hit non-med­i­cal card hold­ers or those without a GP’s let­ter badly.

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