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  • Writer's pictureHealthwatch Southend

What help can you get to pay for your prescriptions?

Most adults in England have to pay for their prescriptions. Some items are always free, such as contraceptives; however, most incur a charge. The current cost is £9.65 per item.

Who can get a free NHS prescription?

You are eligible for a free prescription if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You are 60 or over.

  • You are under 16 years old.

  • You are 16, 17 or 18 years old and in full-time education.

  • You are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate.

  • You have a continuing physical disability that prevents you from going out without help from another person, and you have a valid medical exemption certificate.

  • You hold a valid war pension exemption certificate, and the prescription is for your disability.

  • You are an NHS inpatient.

  • You have a long-term health condition. People with certain medical conditions can get free NHS prescriptions by applying for a valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx).

  • You live in a deprived area.

You are entitled to a free prescription if you or your partner receive the following benefits.

You are also entitled to free prescriptions if you are under 20 and a dependent of someone on these benefits.

Check to see if you are eligible for help

The Government has an online survey - that only takes five minutes to complete - that will let you know whether you can get free NHS prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests.

Do you have a low-income?

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible to receive financial help towards your prescription. The NHS have a low-income scheme to help people. The scheme covers:

  • Prescription costs.

  • Dental costs.

  • Eye care costs.

  • Healthcare travel costs.

  • Wigs and fabric support.

You can apply for the scheme if your savings, investments or property (not including where you live) stay within the capital limit. If you live in a care home, the capital limit is £23,250. For everyone else, it is £16,000. Visit the NHS website to find out how to apply for the low-income scheme and to claim money back that you have already paid.

Prescription Prepayment Certificates

You can save money through a Prescription prepayment certificate (PPC0. This certificate lets you pay a fee upfront to cover all your NHS prescriptions, including dental, no matter how many you need.

Costs for a prepayment certificate vary depending on the duration of the certificate:

  • Three months cost £31.25 and will save you money if you get more than three prescriptions in three months.

  • Twelve months cost £111.60 and will save you money if you get more than eleven prescriptions yearly.

  • If you're prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), you are entitled to an HRT PPC. The certificate costs £19.30, lasts 12 months, and will save you money if you get more than two prescriptions yearly. Find out more about the HRT PPC and how to apply.

An address is needed to apply for a PPC or to the Low-Income Scheme (LIS). However, you can use a ‘care of’ or forwarding address if you don’t have a fixed address.

More information and advice

For more information and support paying for your prescriptions, check out the following resources:

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