While most NHS treatments are free, there are times when our health can become costly. Things like sight tests, travelling to have NHS treatments, dental work, and so on, can all become quite expensive. However, there are several ways in which you can save on the amount you’re spending on your health.
For example, some groups don’t have to pay for certain healthcare items, many can get help for their costs if they’re on a low income and those with large amounts of prescriptions can save money too.
Age Groups and Health Care Costs
Any child under the age of 16 or aged 16 to 18 and in full-time education will receive a plethora of free services from the NHS. These include prescriptions, wigs and fabric supports, eye tests and dental treatment. They will also receive additional help with the cost of contact lenses or glasses (laser eye surgery is not included), and may receive help with travel costs (when travelling for an NHS treatment). Replacement / repair of contact lenses or glasses may also be included too.
If you’re aged 16 to 18 but you aren’t in full-time education, you will still receive free dental treatment up until your 18th birthday (this goes up to the age of 25 if you live in Wales). Anyone aged 60 or over living in Wales will receive free NHS dental examinations while anyone aged 60 or over living in England will get free NHS eye tests and free NHS prescriptions.
Laser surgery treatments have now been available for many years and there is an increasing amount of clinics opening up throughout the UK. The increase in the number of clinics that now offer such treatments has brought the costs down. Many companies are upfront with their prices, like lasereyesurgeryhub.co.uk, which can make budgeting for known standard treatments more feasible.
Pregnant Women and Health Care Costs
Any woman who has had a baby in the last year or is pregnant will receive free NHS dental treatment (if you meet the criteria at the time the treatment is advised) and free NHS prescriptions (if you can produce a maternity exemption certificate).
Getting Help with Prescriptions
The NHS offers a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC) for anyone who requires over 12 prescribed medicines each year. A three-month plan is also available for those who need over 3 medicines in a three month period.
Each individual prescription cost is £8.40 but with the 12-month plan the total cost is £104 and the 3-month plan is £29.10. For example, if you require 2 medicines a month and you purchase the 12-month plan, you’ll save over £95 a year. Or, if you need 4 medicines a month and you’re on the 3-month plan, you could save over £70 during this period.
This is only available to residents of England and the PPC will cover the cost of any prescriptions you need during the period your certificate is valid for, regardless of how many are required.
There are a number of different schemes available through the NHS for a variety of different groups, which is why it is always worth checking if you’re applicable for any free services or if you can get help towards certain costs. If you’re not sure whether you are, you can always ask your local doctor, pharmacist or dentist for their advice.
Louise Thomas has worked at her local opticians for several years and finds the job a rewarding experience. In her free time she loves to write, and shares her knowledge of eye health online.