Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions
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NHS prescription items are currently free for over 60s although a proposed policy change will increase the eligibility age to the state pension age, currently 66. This could be compounded by a potential 2.35 percent increase in price as the £9.35 per item bill may rise in April.
The potential policy change could affect 2.4 million of the country’s most medically vulnerable generation.
Increasing the qualifying age for free prescriptions is supposed to save the NHS money but some charities have voiced concerns that taking it away will increase the costs of medical care for over 60s below the state pension age.
The biggest concern is that increased costs will see Britons rationing or forgoing their prescriptions entirely, which could result in more hospitalisations.
Another blow to this age group would be a potential price hike for medication expected this year.
Over the past decade, prescription costs have risen by 26.35 percent, and if the next hike follows suit medication could cost £9.57 per item.
As the cost of medicine increase, the NHS passes these costs onto the public every April by rising the cost of prescription items.
No price increase for this year has been confirmed yet but previous years have seen the prescription cost rise on April 1.
The constantly increasing prices could also see Britons paying £13.25 for medication by the year 2035.
Last April saw the prices increase by 20p, a 2.1 percent increase in line with inflation, but as inflation skyrockets this year many are concerned that the costs of much-needed medication may be out of reach.
The combination of these two changes could be devastating for those approaching the state pension age.
The change is expected to cost these Britons £100 more per year until they reach state pension age.
Although, it has been reported that if the entitlement age is increased, those currently aged between 60 and 66 will still be able to keep their free prescriptions.
However, this doesn’t take the burden off those aged 59 and under as they will need to pay for expenses they may not have budgeted for in the crucial run-up to retirement.
It has been shared by Government that those who are concerned that the free prescriptions for over 60s being scrapped will impact their finances can opt for pre-payment certificates.
These certificates, also known as PPC, are offered for a period of either three months or 12 months for an upfront fee.
They can be especially useful for those needing more than one prescription item per month.
However, those who need less than this amount of medication may pay more through the certificates than just buying it normally.
The current certificates cost £30.25 for three months and £108.10 for 12.
In contrast, buying two or more prescriptions per month can cost Britons over £200 every year.
While this could be an authentic solution for many, charities like Age UK have voiced their concerns that Britons who need it most may not be able to afford the upfront costs of a certificate.
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