Free NHS medicines could be extended to state pension age, which would be a ‘kick in the teeth’ for the over 60s.
PENSION The Government intends to raise the qualifying age for free medications in England, which could be a “kick in the teeth” for elderly savers in the coming months and years. Age UK has responded by launching a new “Save Free Prescriptions” campaign.
The Department of Health and Social Care is presently consulting on matching the maximum age exemption for prescription prices with the state pension age, so changes to NHS prescriptions could be on the way. Age UK, the largest organization dedicated to later life, has warned that 2.4 million people aged 60-65 may have to start paying for their medications as a result of this.
Additionally, many of people may be forced to forego their prescription due to the increased expense.
Age UK further stated that the “short-sighted strategy” risks putting additional strain on the NHS if, as projected, some older people quit following their treatment regimen due to financial concerns and become sicker as a result.
In response to the Government’s consultation, Age UK has started a “Save Free Prescription” campaign. The consultation began in July and will close on September 2, 2021.
“It is incredibly disheartening that a policy that could have such a huge impact on millions of older people is being discussed on over August and that it was announced without any fanfare,” the charity said of the government’s activities.
“The consultation proposes raising the eligibility age for free medications from 60 to the state pension age, which is presently 66 for both men and women but is set to rise even higher.”
“[This plan] might affect millions of people becoming 60 in the future, unless they qualify for particular benefits or have a medical exemption, as well as those who are now 60-65 if the Government chose not to safeguard them,” Age UK said.
“People will be particularly impacted if their earnings are small but just beyond the benefit threshold.
“It also penalizes people who are in poor health and require multiple medicines because they are managing several serious long-term health conditions, such as heart disease or hypertension – one of a number of conditions that are more prevalent among Black African and Black Caribbean ethnic groups – though, surprisingly, the Government’s Impact Assessment fails to look at whether their.”Brinkwire Summary N