When Do You Have To Start Paying for Prescriptions?

The NHS in the UK makes most medical care free. That doesn’t include absolutely everything, though. While you don’t have to pay to book an appointment with your NHS GP, you still have to pay for things like dentistry, sight tests, and prescriptions. 

The good news is that there are certain exemptions in some cases, particularly when it comes to paying for prescriptions. The question is, when do you have to start paying for prescriptions, and which circumstances make you exempt?


How Much Are Prescription Charges?

Right now, prescriptions are £9.65 per item. However, this charge typically increases every April, so you might find that it’s slightly more. 

Certain prescription items are free no matter what. For example, medications prescribed to inpatients at a hospital come with no cost, as do contraception prescriptions. 


When You Don’t Have to Pay for Prescriptions

Understanding when you have to pay for a prescription helps to know when you don’t. If you fall under any of the following categories, you are exempt from paying. 


You are Under 16 or Over 60

When it comes to prescription charge exemptions, age plays a significant role. If you are either under the age of 16 or over 60, you do not have to pay for a prescription. 


You Are Between 16-18 and in Full-Time Education

If you are between the ages of 16 and 18 and are in full-time education, such as college, you are able to receive an exemption from paying for prescriptions. 


You Have a Certain Medication Condition

Specific medical conditions allow you to apply for a medical exemption certificate, so you won’t have to pay for any prescriptions. You can get your medical exemption certificate from your GP, and you and your GP must fill out the form. 


You Are Pregnant or Have Recently Had a Baby

There is such a thing as a maternity exemption certificate for expecting mothers and mothers who have had their child within the last 12 months. With this certificate, you can access free prescriptions. It also includes free dental care. You’ll need to seek out a form from your GP, midwife, or doctor to get a maternity exemption certificate.


You Have a War Pension Exemption Certificate

If you have serviced in the armed forces and are under the age of 60, you can get a war pension exemption certificate, which allows you to get prescriptions without the charges. 


You Are On Low Income

If you have a low income, there is the NHS low income scheme, which covers medical costs, including prescriptions, eye care, and dentistry. To gain access to this scheme, you’ll need to have under £16,000 in savings (unless you live in a care home – in this case, your savings must be under £23,250). Depending on your income and overall circumstances, you may be entitled to fully free NHS prescriptions or partial coverage. 


When You Do Have to Pay for Prescriptions

You do have to pay for prescriptions if any of the above does not apply to you. If you are a healthy adult who is not pregnant and has a higher-than-low income, you will likely need to pay for your prescriptions. 


Any Questions?

If you have any prescriptions about your NHS prescriptions or wish to set up online healthcare, feel free to contact us here at NHS GP Pathfinder Clinics. We are more than happy to assist you in any way.

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