Free prescription could be scrapped for over 60s but most people could pay LESS

Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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The Government is currently consulting on whether to raise the age at which people receive free prescriptions from 60 to the state pension age of 66. If the plans go ahead it will affect millions of older Britons who are already struggling due to the cost of living crisis. However, most people could make big savings on NHS prescription costs.

They are also free for Britons suffering from certain medical conditions, those on low incomes and anyone who invests in a Prepayment Certifcate (PPC) no matter what their income.

Fifteen groups of Britons with illnesses like cancer, epilepsy and diabetes are entitled to free prescriptions – there is a full list of qualifying medical conditions on the NHS website.

Those with a qualifying illness should be sent a medical exemption certificate through the post by the NHS.

Prescription charges are also waived for people on certain benefits if they earn less than a certain amount.

While anyone who is earning above the threshold might be able to make savings by buying a PPC.

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Which benefits qualify for free prescriptions?

Britons may 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.

It also depends on 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.

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.”

People in England who don’t qualify for free prescriptions can still save money by buying a Pre-Payment Certificate (PPC).

What is happening where you live? Find out by adding your postcode or visit InYourArea

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

Should the age for free prescriptions rise to match the state pension age? What do you think? Have your say in our poll:

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