Health (Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Act 2013

7.

Insertion of section 58A in Health Act 1970.

7.— The Health Act 1970 is amended by the insertion, after section 58, of the following section:

“General practitioner medical and surgical service for certain persons over 70 years of age.

58A.— (1) The Health Service Executive shall make available without charge a general practitioner medical and surgical service for a person who is ordinarily resident in the State in one of the following categories—

( a) persons—

(i) who on or after 5 April 2013, attain or have attained the age of 70 years,

(ii) who have limited eligibility,

(iii) whose gross income does not exceed the relevant gross income limit, and

(iv) who—

(I) make an application to the Health Service Executive in such form as it may consider appropriate, and

(II) receive confirmation from the Health Service Executive that they have qualified for services under this section because they have attained the age of 70 years, are ordinarily resident in the State and their gross income does not exceed the relevant gross income limit,

so long as their gross income does not exceed that relevant limit,

and

( b) dependants of persons referred to in paragraph ( a).

(2) The gross income limits for the purposes of this section are the following:

( a) if a person—

(i) is not married, and is not living together with another person as husband and wife, or

(ii) does not have a civil partner,

his or her gross income limit is €700 per week, not including the income from the portion of the person’s savings or similar investments whose capital value does not exceed €36,000, and

( b) if persons—

(i) are married or live together as husband and wife, or

(ii) are civil partners as respects each other,

their combined gross income limit is €1,400 per week, not including the income from the portion of their savings or similar investments whose capital value does not exceed €72,000.

(3) Where—

( a) a person—

(i) was married to another person until that other person’s death,

(ii) was living with another person as husband and wife until that other person’s death, or

(iii) was a civil partner as respects another person until that other person’s death,

and

( b) the death of the other person occurred on or after 5 April 2013, and

( c) the surviving person had attained the age of 70 years at the time of the death of that other person,

the gross income limit applicable to the surviving person in the 3 years following the death of that other person shall be that specified in paragraph ( b) of subsection (2) for such part of that period as the surviving person is not married, living together with another person as husband and wife, or does not have a civil partner.

(4) The Health Service Executive shall provide any necessary supports to any person in the making of an application under subsection (1) where, by reason of any incapacity, such person requests such assistance.

(5) The Minister shall, on 1 September of every year, review the most recent information on the consumer price index made available by the Central Statistics Office, and may, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, by regulations to take effect on 1 January next following that review, increase or decrease the gross income limits specified for the purposes of this section to reflect any increase or decrease in that index.

(6) In the calculation of gross income for the purposes of this section, all gross income from all sources is to be included except for the gross income arising from the following sources of income, and any subsequent income from the investment of the monies arising from those sources:

( a) compensation awards to persons under the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Acts 1997 to 2006;

( b) compensation awards by way of the Residential Institutions Redress Board established under section 3 of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002;

( c) prescribed repayments made under section 8 of the Health (Repayment Scheme) Act 2006 made—

(i) to a living relevant person,

(ii) to the spouse or former spouse of a living or deceased relevant person,

(iii) directly to a living child of a relevant person by virtue of section 9(8) of that Act;

( d) ex-gratia awards approved by the Lourdes Hospital Redress Board under the terms of the Lourdes Hospital Redress Scheme 2007;

( e) similar awards and payments set out in regulations made under subsection (8).

(7) In the calculation of gross income for the purposes of this section, income will not be imputed from property comprising an interest in land (whether a family home, a holiday home or any other property), other than the net rental income (calculated as gross rental income, less any cost necessarily incurred and associated with the rental of the property).

(8) The Minister may make regulations prescribing a class or classes of payments not coming within paragraphs ( a) to ( d) of subsection (6) but which the Minister considers to be made for a similar purpose as those made under those paragraphs.

(9) Insofar as it is considered practicable by the Health Service Executive, a choice of medical practitioner shall be offered under the general practitioner medical and surgical service made available under this section.

(10) In this section ‘civil partner’ has the same meaning as it has in the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010.”.