Free prescriptions help relieve some pressure on low-income Britons across the UK, with millions of people claiming them for vital medication. New state pension plans could see people lose the benefit, but who is at risk?
Prescription payments currently set most people back £9.35 a month, thanks to a trend of recent increases that recently pushed them up from April 1 this year. Not everyone has to fork over nearly £10 a month, however, as low-income Britons can claim free prescriptions. But incoming proposed changes to state pension could jeopardise their entitlement.
Free prescriptions exist to help people who may not otherwise have the means to pay for medical treatment.
Without them, many of those entitled would see their bank accounts and overall health suffer.
The NHS prioritises a selection of groups based on age, income and condition.
Free prescription entitlement age over 60 prescription cost
Groups eligible for free prescriptions include:
People aged 60 or over
People aged under 16
People aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education
Pregnant people or those who have given birth in the last 12 months and have a MatEx
People with a medical condition and valid medical exemption certificate (MedEx)
Those with a MedEx and physical disability that prevents them from going out without help and
Those requiring medication for an accepted disability with a valid war pension exemption certificate
Those claiming free prescriptions as they turn 60 are now at risk of losing their entitlement.
The Department of Health has kept the age limit in place but has recently launched a consultation on raising it in line with pensions.
Should the plans get the green light, free prescription entitlement will shift from age 60 to 66.