Martin Lewis site explains how NHS 'season ticket' can avoid £9 prescription fee

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Martin Lewis site explains how NHS
Martin Lewis site explains how NHS 'season ticket' can avoid £9 prescription fee

The Money Saving Expert (MSE) website has revealed that over one million people in England have overpaid for prescriptions between 2021 and 2022 by not using the NHS “season ticket”.

According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) obtained by the Martin Lewis -founded site, about 1.06 million people paid for at least 12 prescriptions individually between 2021-22 with an average of 16 prescriptions items bought.

In England, the cost of an individual prescription is £9.35 which means in 2021-22, people with 16 prescriptions paid £149.60 for the medication.

By buying the prescriptions individually, these people actually paid £40 more for their medication than they would have by purchasing a 12-month NHS prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) for £108.10.

Martin Lewis site explains how NHS 'season ticket' can avoid £9 prescription fee rriqudiuriqkkinvIn England, a prescription currently costs £9.35 per item (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

According to MSE, this is the fourth year in a row that the number of patients losing out has reached over one million with the number steadily increasing.

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Commenting on the findings, MSE founder Martin Lewis said: "It’s frustrating to hear that many people are still paying more than they need to – especially at a time when every penny counts towards bills.

Martin Lewis site explains how NHS 'season ticket' can avoid £9 prescription feeThe data was revealed through a Freedom of Information request by the Martin Lewis-founded site MoneySavingExpert.com (Jonathan Hordle/REX/Shutterstock)

"We need to spread the word to anyone who regularly gets prescriptions – including some with chronic illnesses – to check out prescription prepayment certificates.

"My simple rule of thumb is if you get more than one prescription a month, on average these 'season tickets' are the cheapest option as they cap what you need to pay."

What is an NHS prescription prepayment certificate?

England is currently the only country in the UK to have prescription charges, as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland residents can get their medications for free.

NHS England currently offers a payment scheme, which is essentially a prepaid card and covers all your prescriptions for that period, no matter how many you need.

Allocated by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), the group that does the NHS’ finances, there are currently two types of prescription prepayment certificates available: one lasting three months, and one lasting 12 months.

Martin Lewis site explains how NHS 'season ticket' can avoid £9 prescription feeAccording to MSE, this is the fourth year in a row that the number of patients losing out has reached over one million (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The three-month certificate costs £30.25, which is paid in one lump sum, and the 12-month certificate costs £108.10, which can be paid for in 10 installments by Direct Debit or in a lump sum.

If you need 12 prescription items a year, a 12-month certificate could save you £4.10 a year with bigger savings to be made if you require more prescriptions.

You can buy a prepayment certificate on the NHS Business Services Authority’s website or at a registered pharmacy.

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If you buy a PPC online you get it instantly to your email and it will come into effect the very same day.

If you request a physical one you'll receive their paper certificate within 10 working days.

The Government has currently frozen the price of prescriptions and prepayment certificates until 2023 to help with the current cost of living crisis.

However, the Money Saving Expert founder urges people to check whether the NHS “season ticket” would work for them in case the Government decides to u-turn on the freeze and increase the price in April.

Ruby Flanagan

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation