State pension POLL: Should the free NHS prescription age rise to 66? Vote now
At State Pension age, Britons primarily become able to receive the all-important state pension sum to aid them in retirement. The payment is up to £179.60 per week, and is made available to those with enough National Insurance contributions. But aside from the state pension sum, those who have reached an eligible age often become entitled to other forms of support.
Attendance Allowance, for example, is an additional payment to support older people living with a disability or health condition.
However, for certain forms of support, individuals will not have to wait as long as the state pension age, at least, at present.
This is the case for those living in England who can unlock a free prescription at age 60.
But under consultations put forward yesterday, this age could change – to align with the state pension age.
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If the consultation were to find in favour of increasing the free prescription age in line with the state pension age it could mean more people are forced to wait longer to receive the entitlement.
However, one option which has been suggested is to introduce a grace period which would mean those aged 60 to 65 at the point of change can continue to receive a free prescription.
Opinion has been somewhat split on the matter thus far.
One Express.co.uk reader criticised the potential move as a “tax on the vulnerable” urging a reconsideration of the issue.
Health Minister, James Bethell, commented on the consultation.
He said: “We are committed to improving patient care and supporting the NHS with the funding it needs to recover from this pandemic.
“The upper age exemption for free prescriptions used to align with the state pension age, but that link has been lost over the years.
“Prescription charges are an important source of income for the NHS, and the costs of providing free prescriptions continue to increase with our ageing population.
“I encourage anyone with views on our proposals to share them through the consultation response form, available online on GOV.UK.”
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