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Health service overhaul: Free prescriptions for pensioners, elderly care and suicide prevention
13 July 2018 @ 22:39

HEALTHCARE reforms on the cards will include a gradual return to free prescriptions for State pensioners – including those whose pension comes from another country, such as retired expats, announces minister Carmen Montón (pictured).

Pensioners always used to get free prescriptions irrespective of their income until around 2012 when the then right-wing PP government began to apply a charge of 10% of the retail cost of their drugs – a figure that also applies to anyone whose gross annual income is less than €18,000.

For those with gross earnings of €18,000 to €100,000, most prescription drugs, other than some which are subsidised and attract only a 10% charge, are payable at a rate of 50%, despite the clear difference in spending power between the two income levels, and the fact that gross earnings translate to very different net income for the self-employed versus employees – for the latter, €18,000 a year works out at around €1,320 an month, whilst for the former, it translates to €1,000 a month.

As a result, a high number of residents – workers and pensioners alike – admit they do not bother to collect their prescriptions or stop taking their medication because it is 'too expensive'.



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