Do students pay for prescriptions?
Pharmacy insights

Do students pay for prescriptions?

Do students pay for prescriptions? This is a valid question and one that often leads to misinterpretation of eligibility for free NHS prescriptions.

All NHS prescriptions, including electronic prescription tokens (EPS tokens), list exemption reasons for patients who do not have to pay for prescribed medication. This list is located in Part 1 at the back of each prescription form. Exempt patient groups are arranged into a list form with letters from A to S. 

Back of FP10 prescription with listed exemptions

Children and adolescents aged below 16 years of age are exempt from paying for their prescriptions. 

Exemption B states the following: 

  • is 16, 17 or 18 and in full-time education 

You don’t have to pay for your prescriptions only if you are a student of a school, college, university, or similar institution and if you are 16-18 years of age. Students who are 19 years of age or older and study at university have to pay for prescriptions. Apprenticeship is also not covered by this exemption. 

How to get an exemption when you are a student 

As a student, you can apply for HC2 certificate as a part of NHS Low-Income Scheme to help with a cover various NHS charges, including NHS prescription charges. Other costs that you can get help with include: 

  • NHS dental treatments
  • The cost of eye check, contact lenses or glasses 
  • The cost of traveling to get NHS treatment

Any student can apply, providing that one does not have savings, investments, or property worth more than £16000. In order to get an HC2 certificate, students must complete HC1 form, which can be found on NHS Service Business Authority website

A student who applies for HC2 certificate will need to provide proof of all grants, loans, bursaries, and awards showing the amount of money received. A student loan will be treated as part of your income when assessment for HC2 certificate is made. It takes 18 days for the assessment to be completed. 

Prescription Prepayment Certificate for students

Alternatively, if you don’t qualify for the low-income scheme or you prefer less hassle, you can purchase a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC), which allows you to get all NHS prescription items for a set monthly price. The current monthly cost for PPC is £10.40 by direct debit. Patients who regularly get two or more items a month save with PPC. Application for PPC is very easy and takes much less time than application for HC2 certificate.  

Please note: you can be charged up to £100 if you claim free NHS prescriptions without entitlement to it.

References and related topics:

I am a community pharmacist working in UK. I blog about drugs, health and pharmacy.

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