Yellow form and means test - article from the The Times - 27/11/2003

Fiona Galea Debono

The Social Policy Ministry is working on a "sensible" means testing procedure for the allocation of medicines, listed under schedule V of the Social Security Act, it said yesterday, following Monday's budget speech.

Budget 2004 announced a major revision of the use of the yellow card, with the introduction of a means test and medical auditing to ensure eligibility to these benefits.

The means test would be different from the one currently in use for the beneficiaries of free medical aid (given to those who have the pink card) since the treatment regime for conditions under schedule V (for people who have the yellow card) is more expensive and specialised in nature, the ministry said.

It was therefore being envisaged that the capital and income means for eligibility would be higher than those for free medical aid.

The yellow card is currently a universal benefit but it should be targetted at those who need it more, depending on their financial situation.

The problem was not one of abuse but lay in the fact that it was in the possession of all, from the richest to the poorest persons, when it should target those more in need, the ministry said.

It was hard to know how many people were in possession of a yellow card as the system was still being carried out manually.

The ministry would be providing more details when the workings of the means test are finalised.

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