Free prescription changes – all benefits and eligible medical conditions

A warning was issued about the removal of free prescriptions in April.

Experts believe this would mean over-60s would start to face charges for their medicines – and the cost of a prescription would also rise from its current £9.35.

The big question now is who will still be entitled to free prescriptions after the change takes effect.

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Last year, the government announced plans to raise the age of eligibility for free prescriptions in England from 60 to 66, to bring it in line with the state pension age. He said many people between the ages of 60 and 65 are still employed and can therefore afford to meet the costs.

Financial experts believe that this drastic change will come into effect for the next financial year.

The move sows confusion over who may or may not still be eligible for drug fee waivers at pharmacies – and comes amid a growing wave of household budget increases, including drug bills. energy, council tax, national insurance and petrol costs.

Who Can Get Free Prescriptions

The NHS says you can – currently – get free prescriptions if you

  • are 60 or older (although this looks set to increase in April)
  • are under 16
  • are between 16 and 18 years old and are studying full time
  • are pregnant or have had a child in the last 12 months and hold a valid Maternity Exemption Certificate (MatEx)
  • have a specified medical condition and have a valid Medical Exemption Certificate (MedEx)
  • have a persistent physical disability that prevents you from going outside without the help of another person and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
  • hold a valid War Pension Exemption Certificate and prescription is for your accepted disability
  • are an NHS hospital patient

What benefits qualify for free prescriptions?

In addition to the criteria above, you are also eligible for free prescriptions if you or your partner receive:

  • Income support
  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Income Support Benefit
  • The collateral credit element of the pension credit
  • Universal Credit – if you had no income or had net income of £435 or less in your last assessment period; your payment includes an item for a child; or you (or your partner) had limited capacity for work (LCW) or limited capacity for work and work-related activities (LCWRA), and had no income or a net income of £935 or less during your last evaluation period

You will also not pay medical expenses if you are under 20 and dependent on someone receiving the above state benefits.

Free prescriptions may also be available for those receiving child tax credits and working tax credits. Specifically, you must be named on:

  • a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate – if you don’t have a certificate you can show your award notice. You qualify if you get child tax credits, tax credits for workers with a disability element (or both) and have an income for tax credit purposes of £15,276 or less
  • a valid NHS certificate for full healthcare cost assistance (HC2)

Note that those who receive the Personal Independence Payment – ​​a benefit for long-term health problems and disabilities – are not automatically eligible for free prescriptions. But specific medical conditions will allow you to avoid drug costs.

In such cases, you will need to obtain a medical exemption certificate. You will need to ask your doctor for an FP92A form to apply for a five-year certificate.

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The NHS says Medical Exemption Certificates are issued if you have:

  • cancer, including the effects of cancer or the effects of current or previous cancer treatment
  • a permanent fistula (for example, a laryngostomy, colostomy, ileostomy, or some kidney dialysis fistulas) requiring a continuous surgical dressing or device
  • a form of hypoadrenalism (for example, Addison’s disease) for which specific replacement therapy is essential
  • diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • diabetes mellitus, except when treatment is based on diet alone
  • hypoparathyroidism
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myxedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • epilepsy requiring ongoing anticonvulsant therapy
  • a persistent physical disability that prevents you from going out without the help of another person (temporary disabilities do not count, even if they last several months)

Also, if you have a low income, you may be able to apply for free prescriptions. You will need to obtain an HC2 certificate through the NHS Low Income Scheme. To do this, obtain the HC1 form from your employment office or local hospital or by calling 0300 123 0849.

Anyone who finds they have to pay for their medication should find out if it is cheaper to get a Prepayment certificate of prescription. it costs £30.25 for three months or £108.10 for 12 months. You’ll save on costs if you need two or more prescriptions each month.

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