Plans to scrap free prescriptions for over 60s still being considered – are you at risk?

Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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NHS prescription charges for people aged 60 up to state pension age in England could still go ahead despite the cost of living crisis, can confirm. The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said a decision had not yet been made with responses to proposals to bring in the changes still being considered.

NHS prescriptions cost £9.35 per item in England but are currently free for anyone over 60-years-old, as well as Britons suffering from certain medical conditions and those on low incomes.

However, this could change if Government plans to raise the free prescription age inline with the state pension age of 66 get the green light.

A DHSC spokesperson told “No decision has yet been made – We are considering the responses carefully and will respond in due course.”

At £9.35 per prescription item, NHS costs can soon add up, however some people could be entitled to free prescriptions.

Britons who suffer from certain medical conditions will be sent a medical exemption certificate.

In addition, people on certain Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits like Universal Credit should be exempt from paying if they earn less than a certain amount.

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Typically, this is £435 or less in the last assessment period or £935 if they have responsibility for a child.

People should also qualify for free prescriptions if they receive income support, income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit.

People who don’t qualify for free prescriptions who are struggling to make ends meet should consider investing in a Pre-Payment Certificate (PPC).

A PPC enables people to purchase as many NHS prescriptions as they need throughout the year for £108.10, or £30.25 for three months.

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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A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The vast majority – around 89% – 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, 15 groups of people may be missing out on help with NHS prescription costs which could save them more than a hundred pounds a year. 

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