Extended optical and dental services are now available to qualified PRSI contributors, including employees, the self-employed, and their dependent spouses/partners.
The news has been welcomed by Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael TD, Peter Burke, who commented: “This is great news for workers in Athlone. It means they can now avail of free teeth cleaning and free glasses when they need them. This will encourage more working people to take better care of their health, which should drive down their health expenses in the longer run. Restoring benefits to PRSI contributors was a key commitment of Fine Gael heading into the last election, and I’m delighted that we are now in a position to deliver.
“The optical scheme will now cover the provision of glasses, either free or subsidised, if an upgraded design is chosen, or provide a contribution towards contact lenses. Repairs to glasses are also covered under the extended scheme, in addition to the free eye examination announced earlier in 2017.
“The dental scheme will now include a contribution to cleanings, either an annual scale and polish or more extensive periodontal treatment if clinically required. These treatments will be available in addition to the free annual dental examination also announced in March this year.
“The cleanings will require a co-payment from the patient if the cost of the treatment charged by the dentist is in excess of the fee payable by the Department. For the simpler scale and polish treatment, this additional co-payment is capped at a maximum of €15.”
Deputy Burke said that currently more than 2.5 million qualified contributors - including 450,000 people who are self-employed - may have an entitlement based on their PRSI contributions to claim treatment benefits, and this benefit is available to both themselves and their dependent spouse or partner.
“Treatment benefits are an important support for those who contribute each week to social insurance fund and our commitment to these extended benefits demonstrate a Government committed to supporting people at work, be they employed or self-employed,” he concluded.