Tell us who you think should pay for prescriptions as the system is facing an overhaul

News that the rules regarding free prescriptions could be changed as soon as the month of April has been met with a wave of criticism.

Last year, the government consulted on plans to raise the qualifying age for free prescriptions in the UK from 60 to 66, bringing it in line with the state retirement age. It claimed that many people aged 60 to 65 remain in employment so that they can afford the costs.

The government’s hearing on the changes closed on September 3, and the Department of Health and Social Care has said it will respond “in due course”.

Financial experts believe that this radical change will take effect as early as April for the next financial year.

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There are also fears that the current prescription fee of £ 9.35 could be raised.

Prescription Fees Coalition chairwoman Laura Cockram is fighting against moves to get over-60s people to pay for NHS prescriptions, warning of the “terrible impact of the proposals on those living with health conditions.”

Age UK has called the plans to end free NHS prescriptions for over 60s in England a “bitter pill to swallow for millions”.

The shift to ax-free prescriptions is creating confusion about who will still be eligible to have their drug taxes waived. It also comes amid a host of household budget increases, including energy bills, municipal taxes, national insurance and gasoline costs.

Tell us what you think about the proposed changes in our study via this link or below:

Who can get free prescriptions

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

  • is 60 or above (although this appears to increase in April)
  • is under 16
  • is 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  • is pregnant or has had a child within the last 12 months and has a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
  • has a specified medical condition and has a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
  • have a persistent physical disability that prevents you from going out without the help of another person and have a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
  • have a valid war pension exemption certificate and the prescription is for your accepted disability
  • is an NHS inpatient

Tell us your feelings in the comments section.

What benefits qualify for free prescriptions?

In addition to the above criteria, you are also entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner receives:

  • Income support
  • income-based Job Seeker Allowance
  • income-related employment and support benefit
  • the guarantee credit element in Pensionskredit
  • Universal Credit – if you had zero earnings or had a net income of £ 435 or less during your last valuation period; your payment includes an item for a child; or you (or your partner) had limited ability to work (LCW) or limited ability to work and work-related activity (LCWRA) and either had no earnings or net earnings of £ 935 or less during your last assessment period

You also do not pay drug taxes if you are under the age of 20 and are dependent on someone receiving the above government benefits.

Free prescriptions may also be available to those who receive child tax deductions and employment tax deductions. Specifically, you must be named on:

  • a valid NHS tax deduction waiver – if you do not have a certificate, you can view your grant notice. You qualify if you receive a child tax deduction, employment tax deduction with a disability element (or both) and have a tax deduction income of £ 15,276 or less
  • a valid NHS certificate for full health care assistance (HC2)

Those who receive personal independence payment – a benefit for long-term health problems and disabilities – do not automatically qualify for free prescriptions. However, there are specific medical conditions that will entitle you to avoid medication charges.

In these cases, you must have a medical exemption certificate. You must ask your doctor for an FP92A form to apply for a five-year certificate.

The NHS says that medical exemption certificates are issued if you have:

  • cancer, including effects of cancer or effects of current or past cancer treatment
  • a permanent fistula (e.g., a laryngostomy, colostomy, ileostomy, or some renal dialysis fistula) that requires continuous surgical dressing or a device;
  • a form of hypoadrenalism (eg Addison’s disease) for which specific substitution therapy is essential;
  • diabetes insipidus or other forms of hypopituitarism
  • diabetes mellitus, except where the treatment is by diet alone
  • hypoparathyroidism
  • myasthenia gravis
  • myxedema (hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement)
  • epilepsy requiring continuous anticonvulsant therapy
  • a persistent physical disability that means you can not go out without the help of another person (temporary disabilities do not count even if they last for several months)

You can see a complete overview of the NHS guidelines for free prescriptions here.

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