Many are concerned over the proposal to axe free prescriptions for those between the ages of 60 and 66. The results of a consultation are being analysed, but it’s been suggested the policy change could come into effect as soon as April.
Those affected could use a different payment method, potentially saving them hundreds every year.
NHS prescriptions cost £9.35 per item and there are a variety of exemptions available for people living with certain long-term health conditions.
Those that do not qualify for these exemptions but are still concerned about the costs have been advised to look into prescription prepayment certificates.
These certificates have the power to greatly minimise the costs of prescriptions for many depending on how many medicines they require.
However, it has also been suggested that people should avoid panic buying these certificates as it does not necessarily benefit everyone and could be more costly than a normal prescription for some.
The certificate offers two different payment options:
- Three months worth of prescriptions for £30.25
- 12 months worth of prescriptions for £104
A general rule is anyone that pays for a minimum of 13 prescriptions per year, or four in a three month period, would save money with these certificates.
Anyone who generally has less prescriptions than this will end up paying more than they need to if they applied for a certificate.
The NHS released data showcasing how much individuals can save with the certificate depending on their prescriptions.
Those that have two prescribed medications each month could save over £115 with a 12 month PPC and over £25 with a three month PPC.
The savings will increase with each additional prescription needed, so those needing four medications each month could save £340 with the annual PPC and over £75 with a three month PPC.
NHS free prescriptions have been available to all Britons over the age of 60 for over 25 years.
However, after Government proposals to align the free prescription age to the state pension age in England, this could be increased to 66 shortly.
Should the policy change go through, it is likely that the free prescription age will continue to rise, seeing many paying out of pocket for items they expected to be free in the near future.
Additional concerns have arisen over the current lacking of transitional arrangements under one option of how the increase could be brought in, meaning that those currently in the 60 to 66 age group could see their free prescriptions lost overnight.