The Irish Health System is a flawed system, there is no empirical evidence at all to show us otherwise. We have seen a medley of errors causing pain and suffering in numerous ways over the past few years. However, sometimes, we do SOMETHING right, and one of those things is the Drug Payment Scheme. Is it perfect? Not at all, but it’s definitely something that everyone should sign up for because it may save you from financial woe in the future.
Here’s a bit of a look into what’s involved, who is entitled to it and how to get yourself sorted out with the Drug Payment Scheme. Hopefully it is something you will never need to use (the majority of users don’t hit the cap each month) but if you’ve got a house of kids, a chronically ill family member or simply want to prepare for the worst, then make sure to get this card into your purse.
What Is The Drug Payment Scheme?
The Drugs Payment Scheme is an initiative which provides a cap on the amount that an individual or family in Ireland has to pay each month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines or rental costs for CPAP/oxygen, for use by that person or his or her family in that month. The amount is determined from time to time by the Minister for Health and Children. It currently stands at €134 per month per household. The Drug Payment Scheme is not means tested. It’s aimed at those who don’t have a Medical Card and normally have to pay the full cost of medication. It also applies to those who have a GP Visit Card, which covers the cost of regular doctors appointments but not any medications or other costs.
For those of you who have small kids in the house who wind up with crechitis and giving it to everyone else in the house through winter, this one may be VERY useful. Hopefully you will never need to use it properly and not need to spend over €134 on medication. However, if you do, it’s a great safeguard to have in place.
Who Is Entitled To Sign Up To The Drug Payment Scheme?
Anyone ordinarily resident in Ireland can apply to join the Drug Payment Scheme, regardless of family, financial circumstances or nationality. Being ordinarily resident means that you have been living here(or intend to live here) for a minimum of one year. You just need to have a PPS number.
The definition of a family for this Scheme, is an adult, their spouse/partner, and any children under 18 years. Dependents over 18 years and under 23 years who are in full time education may also be included. Everyone ordinarily resident in Ireland without a Medical Card should have a Drugs Payment Scheme Card. This is especially true if you’ve got kids!
How Do I Sign Up?
You can download the forms here in both English and Irish. Alternatively, you get a physical copy of the form from your pharmacy or Local Health Office. Make sure to include all details of all family members in the form. Send it to your Local Health Office and you will be sent a card for each member of your family. You must present your card each time you attend the pharmacy before a prescription can be dispensed. However, many pharmacies will keep it on file reducing your need to show the card each time.
You do not have to register with a particular Pharmacy for the scheme. On the other hand, for convenience it is advisable to use the same pharmacy in a particular month if you wish to avoid paying more than the maximum amount per month. If you do use multiple pharmacies and wind up paying more than the limit, you will need to claim back the money overspent using this form and send it to: DPS Refunds, PO Box 12012, Dublin 11.
How Can I Get More Information?
You can find more information about the Drug Payment Scheme and other medical schemes run by the HSE on their website here.
Fingers crossed this information is useful to you and will help some of you to save some money. As much as this is a great scheme, it seems a lot of people don’t know about it. Hopefully, if you hadn’t already gotten this, you can sign up straight away!