Britons could save £340 every year on medication – prepayment certificates explained

Martin Lewis offers advice on NHS prescriptions

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The prepayment certificates offer three month and 12 months options, where Britons can get their medication for that period at a flat rate upfront. For those with multiple prescriptions this could save them hundreds, but others may not be so lucky.

Currently, NHS prescriptions cost £9.35 per item, with certain groups eligible for free prescriptions. 

However as those between the ages of 60 and 66 look to potentially lose their free entitlement, it could be beneficial for them and many others to check out prepayment certificates. 

There is a proposal for the free prescription age, which is currently 60, to align with the state pension age of 66. 

This could see many people going out of pocket for their medication, but a prepayment certificate may help them keep the costs down. 

The NHS website describes these certificates as “a prescription ‘season ticket’”, noting it may be cheaper for many Britons to access healthcare by using them. 

Anyone can buy a prepayment certificate (PPC), regardless of how much or how often they receive prescription medication. 

It should be noted that the certificate only covers the cost of prescription medication and not other healthcare items such as wigs or fabric supports. 

Due to the price of the certificate, not everyone will be able to save money by using it.

There are two PPC options available to Britons at two different prices:

  • Three month PPC for £30.25
  • 12 month PPC for £108.10.

With the three month certificate, someone receiving only three prescription items during this time would be actually be paying £2.20 more for their medication. 

The three month PPC is technically only cost effective if someone receives four or more prescription items in the three month period. 

The 12 month certificate, however, does have a £4.10 savings for people receiving 12 prescription items during this time. 

PPC’s offer higher levels of savings with each additional prescription item one receives while their certificate is valid. 

Anyone receiving two prescription items per month for 12 months can save £116.30.

Whereas people needing four items every month can save up to £340.70 by using the certificate.

Britons can buy a PPC online, or by calling the PPC order line 0300 330 1341.

The certificate will become valid from the date they submit their application unless they request otherwise, although it may take a few days from submission to receive the certificate details by post. 

People who pay for their prescription whilst waiting for their certificate could get a refund but they must ask for a NHS refund form, FP57, when receiving their medication. 

The 12 month PPC can be paid for upfront or through 10 monthly direct debit instalments.

The NHS urges Britons to check if they are entitled to free prescriptions before applying for a PPC. 

If someone becomes eligible for free prescriptions whilst their certificate is still valid they may be able to claim a refund. 

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