How often do you pay for medication? Do you find yourself spending a lot of cash on medicine every month? Perhaps you're on recurring meds, as prescribed by your doctor. If you pay for quite a few items on your prescription every month, you could save money with an NHS prepayment prescription certificate. There are also people who might not need to be paying for prescriptions at all right now. Let's have a look at how an NHS prepayment certificate can save you cash and if your current situation means you don't actually have to pay.
What Is NHS Prepayment?
NHS prepayment is when you pay for your prescriptions up front for a certain amount of time. During that duration, you'll be able to get the prescriptions you need, without handing over any money. It's already been paid for. If you buy more than 2 prescribed items every month, you could easily save money with an NHS prepayment certificate. There are two options to choose from for your NHS prepayment certificate. The three month certificate costs £29.65 and the 12 month costs £105.90.
If you're unable to pay outright for your certificate but still want to make savings on your prescriptions, you can with the annual option! Simply pay for your by direct debit and spread the cost by paying in 10 monthly payments. Paying by direct debit also means you have automatic renewal of your certificate, so there are no breaks in your prescription coverage.
How Much Can You Save?
The NHS prescription cost changes year on year and is currently £9.15 for each prescribed item. If you buy four items every three months, you'll be paying for than the cost of a three month certificate. You'd be paying £36.60 when you could just pay £29.65 for a three months certificate. If you usually buy four prescribed items every month, you'd save over £75 by having a certificate.
If you look at the savings you could make over the course of a year with the 12 month NHS prepayment certificate, they are amazing. The certificate costs £105.90 for 12 months and if you have two items per month you'd save more than the cost of the certificate. If you were to have three items each month you'd save over £200. You can see how the savings add up. The 12 month certificate works out cheaper per month than the three month version. The 12 month certificate works out at £8.83 per month, less than the cost of one prescription! The three month option works out at £9.88 a month. If you're on short term medication you might be better starting with the three month certificate. Longer term medicine users would save more with the annual certificate.
Can It Be Backdated?
If you've recently paid a fair bit of cash for some prescriptions, you might be wondering if you can backdate your NHS prepayment certificate and get a refund. You'll be pleased to know that you can. It can only be backdated by one month. This means that if you paid for items and know you could have saved by having a valid certificate, you can apply afterwards and get a refund on what you bought. Simply get an NHS refund form (FP57) when you pay and then apply for your prescription. The certificate will cover the date when you paid for your items. The prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) can be backdated by a month and you must remember to claim your refund within three months of paying for it. All the info you need will be on the FP57 form.
Are You Entitled To Free Prescriptions?
Did you know that some people don't pay for prescriptions? Might you be paying the National Health Service for yours when you bought be entitled to them for free?
If, at the time the prescription is given, you are the age of 60 or over, under 16 or between 16 and 18 and in full time education, you do not need to pay for your prescriptions. If you are pregnant, have had a baby in the last 12 months and have a valid maternity exemption certificate, you don't need to pay. There are medical conditions where you'll have a medical exemption certificate, meaning you don't need to pay either. Those with a valid war pension exemption certificate where the prescription is for your accepted disability, do not pay. NHS inpatients don't pay either.
Then there are free prescriptions based on finances and benefits. If you are on income support, jobseeker's allowance or employment and support allowance you likely won't have to pay. There are also those on Universal Credit (who meet the criteria) who don't pay. This could be important right now as the number of people on Universal Credit has almost doubled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you have been struggling financially as a result of the Coronavirus situation, you need to be sure to claim the benefits you are entitled to. Please don't sit and struggle. If that means getting Universal Credit, apply for it. Got medicine to buy? Be sure to see if you are able to get it for free.
If you have or are named on a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate or NHS HC2 certificate, you don't pay either.
Use the free eligibility checker online to see if you can get free prescriptions.
It's Worth Checking
As you can see, there are many benefits of getting yourself a NHS prepayment prescription certificate. Many of us hand over our credit card, debit card, or cold hard cash without thinking about it. This is medication we need, tablets and pills that our doctor says will help us. But you don't need to be spending the £9+ per item every month. By getting yourself signed up and investing in a prepayment certificate you'll be surprised at just how much money you can save. Over the course of a year you can save hundreds. It's also worth double checking to see if you are entitled to free prescriptions. If you're situation has recently changed, make sure that you check. There is no point in paying for things that you don't need to.