Who qualifies for free NHS prescriptions? Potential age changes explained

Certain groups of people can currently receive free NHS prescriptions depending on their age, circumstances and medical conditions. However, there is a proposal that could see the upper age limit for free prescriptions aligned to the state pension age, which is currently 66.

Some charities and organisations have voiced concerns about this proposal due to the transitional options and long-term impact. 

The state pension age is constantly under review in order for it to properly align with life expectancy in the UK. 

If the proposal goes through, the age requirement for free prescriptions will be tied into the state pension age, meaning it will likely rise in the future.

Younger generations may therefore have to wait a potential decade until they can receive their entitlement.

The proposal currently has two transition options which could be implemented if it succeeds. 

READ MORE: State pension warning: Britons could be denied payment based on National Insurance record

The first will protect those currently between 60 and state pension age, allowing them to keep their free prescriptions. 

This would mean people aged 59 would wait six years longer than their slightly older counterparts when the proposal is implemented. 

Until the proposal is actually implemented, people over the age of 60 will still be able to receive their free prescriptions. 

It will also not impact those that receive free prescriptions under other qualifying conditions. 



The qualifying conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • A permanent fistula
  • A form of hypoadrenalism
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myxoedema
  • Epilepsy
  • A continuing physically disability that requires the assistance of another person. 

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