Free NHS prescriptions to end from April? What you need to know
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Some 15 groups of people qualify for help with NHS prescription costs but not everyone is taking advantage of this ‘freebie’. Britons could also make savings by purchasing a pre-payment certificate (PPC).
NHS prescription charges are also waived for people on some benefits who are earning less than a certain amount.
While those with a qualifying illness should be sent a medical exemption certificate through the post by the NHS, it’s worth double checking as some people will fall through the cracks.
There’s a full list of medical exemptions on the NHS website.
Britons may also qualify for free prescriptions if they receive Universal Credit, income support, income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit.
Not all Universal Credit claimants are entitled to free prescriptions but those who earn less than a certain amount are.
Other factors that are taken into account include whether the claimant has responsibility for one or more children.
Typically, applicants who earned £435 or less, or £935 if they have responsibility for a child, should be entitled to free prescriptions.
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Are free prescriptions being axed?
A Government proposal to bring the age people receive free prescriptions in line with the state pension age is still in consultation.
If it gets the green light it will mean people who currently receive free prescriptions at age 60 and above will have to wait until their 66-years-old.
It’s caused fury especially as people in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales receive free prescriptions no matter what their age.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The vast majority – around 89 percent – of community prescription items in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60 years old, or have certain medical conditions.
“The upper age exemption has not changed since 1995 and that is why we have consulted on restoring the link with the state pension age.
“No decision has yet been made – We are considering the responses carefully and will respond in due course.”
Meanwhile, people who don’t qualify for free prescriptions can still save money by buying a Pre-Payment Certificate (PPC).
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How much will a NHS Pre-Payment Certificate save on prescription costs?
Two prescriptions per month – save £116.30 with a 12-month PPC
Three prescriptions per month – save £228.50 with a 12-month PPC
Four prescriptions per month – save £340.70 with a 12-month PPC.
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