Over 60s waiting longer for free prescription but 15 groups eligible

Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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A Government consultation is considering aligning the free prescription age with state pension age. Currently over 60s benefit from free prescriptions, but if this changes, people will have to wait six years longer.

As the cost of living crisis continues, Britons will be looking for ways they may be able to cut costs.

There are 15 groups of people who qualify for help towards NHS medical costs so people are urged to check if they are eligible.

Some groups are automatically entitled to free NHS prescriptions.

Others can apply for certificates that entitle them to free NHS prescriptions.

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Some prescribed items are always free, including contraceptives and medication given to hospital inpatients.

People can get free NHS prescriptions if they have a valid HC2 certificate.

These certificates are issued to people who qualify for full help with health costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

People on state benefits like Universal Credit could be exempt from paying for their prescriptions depending on their circumstances.

Benefits such as income support, income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit could also mean someone is entitled to free prescriptions.

If a person has a valid NHS tax credits exemption certificate they may be eligible for a free prescription.

This can be gained by those who receive Working Tax Credit with a disability element, or Child Tax Credit, and have income for tax purposes of £15,276 or less.

Britons who are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months are only entitled to free NHS prescriptions if they have a valid maternity exemption certificate.

Claimants should qualify if they:

  • Earned £435 or less in the last assessment period
  • Took home £935 or less if this includes an element for a child.

People need to show their certificate as proof that they’re entitled.

For more information about who is entitled to free prescriptions, Britons can visit the NHS website.

There is also another way people can save hundreds on their prescriptions.
Britons who are not eligible for free prescriptions can purchase a prepayment certificate (PPC) and save £340 a year on their medication charges.

A PPC is effectively a prescription “season ticket”.

It allows Britons to claim as many NHS prescriptions they need for a set price which is ideal for those on repeat prescriptions.

The three month PPC costs £30.25 and will save people money if they need more than three prescribed items in three months.

The 12-month PPC costs £108.10 and will save people money if they need more than 11 prescribed items in a year.

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