Millions of people over the age of 60 will have to pay for their NHS medicines, although some may be able to get them for free.
If Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s planned health reforms are approved, millions of over 60s would be forced to pay the NHS prescription levy. If his amendments go through, though, some over 60s will still be able to acquire them for free – here’s everything you need to know.
Plans by the Department of Health and Social Care to charge over-60s for their prescriptions have sparked outrage, with protestors alleging it is a “tax on the sick” and harmful to the health of those who have worked hard their entire lives. It would result in up to 2.4 million individuals losing access to free healthcare at a time when they are most in need, while some people over the age of 60 may be able to avoid paying for their medications entirely.
Many people in the UK are excused from paying for NHS medicines, although people over the age of 60 may be exempt because they:
For individuals whose health is unaffected, it’s worth seeing if being on a low income qualifies them for a prescription fee exemption.
Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, and Universal Credit recipients are normally excluded from the £9.35 per item medication levy and should have received an exemption card.
Prescriptions are also free for children under the age of 16, students aged 16 to 18, and pregnant women who have given birth in the previous 12 months.
If you’re unsure, see the NHS website or ask your GP or doctor’s receptionist at your next appointment.
Age UK and other campaigners have written to the health minister, urging him to abandon plans to raise the age of individuals eligible for free medications.
They claim that instead of saving the NHS £257 million a year, it will add to the load on the NHS and have a negative impact on the health and finances of the over 60s.
Older people may be forgiven if they felt unduly singled out by the chancellor – many retirees are being told that they must now pay £159 for a TV licence, despite it being free for 20 years for generations before them.
Add to it worries that the Treasury may eliminate the triple lock, which guarantees a least 2.5 percent increase in the state pension, inflation or average wages growth, and financial stability. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”