Two significant measures have been signed into law by the President of Ireland, both of which are sure to have a huge impact on women and parents across the country.
The first measure is that women aged between 17 and 25-years will be eligible to receive free contraception. The second measure outlines that in-patient charges for children under 16-years-of-age will be abolished in all public hospitals, easing the financial burden on so many parents of sick children.
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins signed these measures into law under the Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Act 2022 on Thursday, July 21, with the aim for them to come into effect by early September.
Commenting on this wonderful news, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said, “Abolishing acute in-patient hospital charges for children under 16 is focused towards easing the financial burden of parents or guardians when bringing their child to hospital for in-patient care.”
“Free contraception is a cost-effective measure, reducing both crisis pregnancy and termination of pregnancy rates,” he continued. “Given that the costs of prescription contraception are typically faced by women, the scheme will impact positively on gender equity, reducing costs for women, but also benefiting their partners and families, starting with women aged 17-25.”
"In the context of current cost-of-living challenges, I am delighted to be able to introduce these 2 significant measures aimed at alleviating cost pressures for individuals and families when seeking to access healthcare,” the Minister added.
This new contraceptive scheme is said to cover the full cost of prescription contraception, including:
The cost of necessary consultations with medical professionals to discuss suitable contraception options with individual patients and to enable prescription of same.
The cost of fitting and/or removal of various types of long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) plus any necessary checks, by medical professionals certified to fit/remove same.
The cost of providing the wide range of contraceptive options currently available to medical card holders, which will also be available through this scheme, including contraceptive injections, implants, IUS and IUDs (coils), the contraceptive patch and ring, and various forms of oral contraceptive pill, including emergency contraception.