Government plans will see people over 60 charged for NHS prescriptions, which could come into effect from April, as the £9.35 fee is set to rise.
This could effect millions of older people living in England with chronic conditions, as they are eligible for free NHS prescriptions but may soon have to pay for them.
The next few months will see tax and price hikes, as income tax bills, National Insurance charges, energy prices, council tax demands and rail fares all get more expensive, warned Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
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The NHS prescription charge reforms would come on top of all these, she said.
Last year, the Government announced plans to lift the qualifying age for free prescriptions in England from 60 to age 66, to bring them into line with the State Pension age.
It said many people aged from 60 to 65 remain in employment and can therefore afford to meet the cost, the Express reported.
Coles believes the reform is likely to come into force on April 1, the same day that prescription charges typically increase.
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“At the moment there’s no charge for over 60s but that could soon change. If it does, it would drag millions of people into having to pay for essential medicines.”
On 1 April last year, the prescription charge increased by 20p, from £9.15 to £9.35, a rise of 2.1 percent in line with inflation.
At the time, the Prescription Charges Coalition dubbed the increase as a “tax on health” and warned some patients are being forced to choose between everyday essentials like food and their medicine. It said on its current trajectory the charge could hit £10.15 by 2025.
If prescription charges continue to rise by inflation they could get even more expensive, with price growth expected to top six percent this year.
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