NHS prescriptions: Who can get them for free and how to pay less

Free NHS prescriptions to end from April? What you need to know

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An increase in NHS prescription charges in England couldn’t come at a worse time, claim campaigners who say Britons are already struggling to meet the increased cost of living. However, some groups of people could get them for free while others could pay less.

Other Britons on certain benefits should also qualify for free medication, in total there are 15 groups of people who qualify.

People who are receiving Universal Credit and some other benefits should qualify for free NHS prescriptions.

In addition, any dependent young people under 20 will also be entitled to free prescriptions.

Britons who receive Pension Credit are also eligible for free prescriptions.

However, people who claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance aren’t immediately eligible for free NHS prescriptions, but they can apply.

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Which 15 groups qualify for free NHS prescriptions?

People under 16
Anyone aged 60 or over
People aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education
Pregnant mothers, or anyone who has had a baby in the previous 12 months and has a valid maternity exemption certificate
Those who are registered disabled
An NHS inpatient
People in receipt of Income Support
Anyone in receipt of income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Those in receipt of income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Applicants in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
Some Universal Credit claimants
Some people claiming child tax credits or working tax credits
Those in receipt of a valid NHS certificate for full help with health costs (HC2)
Anyone living in Scotland
People living in Wales.

For anyone who doesn’t qualify but is struggling to pay for medication, a Prepayment Certificate (PPC) could save them money.

A PPC costs £108.10 for 12 months and means they don’t have to pay any extra for prescriptions.

Depending on how many prescriptions people need per month this could save them a fortune.

Anyone can buy one of these certificates yet figures obtained by Money Saving Expert suggest nearly a million (800,000) people paid more than £108.10 over the course of a year.

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Meanwhile, a Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said lots of people don’t pay for prescriptions.

They said: “Around 90 percent of community prescriptions in England are free of charge, and people don’t pay if they are on a low income, over 60, 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 between this and the state pension age.”

To check one’s eligibility for free prescriptions – people can use the NHS free prescription eligibility checker tool.

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