New government plans to charge the over 60s for NHS prescriptions could come into force from April this year, sources state, with the £9.35 fee being raised at the name time.
The hike could affect millions of older people in England – especially those who love with chronic conditions.
The over-60s currently get their NHS prescriptions for free, augmentin for pneumonia but if this is axed will have to pay the same amount as other paying citizens.
A financial expert has said that raising the price of prescriptions would deliver a double blow to vulnerable Brits, reports the Express.
And, it’s thought that charging the over-60s for their medication could worsen the cost of living crisis battering the country.
Over the next few months, it’s predicted that a blizzard of tax and price hikes will take place with income tax bills, National Insurance charges, energy prices, rail fares and council tax demands all becoming more expensive, according to Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
And, the NHS charge reforms would be added on top of the increasing cost of everyday life, she said.
The government accounted plans to raise the qualifying age for free prescriptions in England from 60 to 66 last year in order to bring them in line with the State Pension age.
It claimed that many people aged 60 to 65 were still employed and so could afford to meet the cost.
Sarah believes the reform will be enforced from April 1 – this is the same date that prescription charges are usually increased.
She said: “At the moment there’s no charge for over 60s but that could soon change.
“If it does, it would drag millions of people into having to pay for essential medicines.”
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The cost of a prescription in England went up by 20p last year from £9.25 to £9.35 in line with 2.1% inflation.
At the time the Prescription Charges Coalition called the increase a “tax on health” and said some patients had to choose between food and medicine.
If prescription charges climb alongside inflation they could go up by a massive 6% this year.
Sarah said that the government has not yet confirmed whether prescription charges will go up, but noted: “2022 is a year of change, but not in a good way. Most of the financial developments in the pipeline will leave us worse off.”
Over the last 10 years, prescription costs have gone up by 26.4% – around £1.95 per item.
If you get a lot of prescriptions each year you can limit the cost by buying a prescription prepayment certificate – this costs £108.10 for a year of prescriptions that are free at the point of access.
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