How to get free prescriptions and dentist check ups
Chances are, if you’re reading this then you’ve probably realised just how expensive visiting the doctor, dentist or optician can be when you’re over 18. BUT there’s no need to start extracting teeth at home, as the vast majority of you will qualify for free treatment by filling out quite a lengthy form.
Once you hit 18 prescriptions are no longer free in England. However, as a student (likely with a low income) it’s very possible that you’re going to qualify for a HC2 certificate. This tells your pharmacist that you are exempt from paying for prescriptions for 12 months, and it’ll also work for dentist and opticians visits too.
To get an HC2 certificate you need to fill out an HC1 form, you can pick one up from your dentist, opticians or pharmacist, or in England you can order one to be sent to you, in Northern Ireland you can download and print one off, in Scotland you can download and print one off and in Wales you need to call 0845 6031108 and ask for ‘Health Publications’ to get one. Once you have it, just take it into the pharmacy with you when you go and pick up your medicine and you won’t be charged.
There are a few exemptions, contraceptives are free for everyone (even in England) and you don’t need to fill out a form if this is the only medication you take. Similarly, prescribed treatments for STIs are also free.
Prescriptions are already free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so if you’re from there and go to university in England, if you go home regularly enough then it’s probably worth keeping yourself registered at your old doctor’s surgery. On the other side, if you’re from England and you’re attending university in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, it’s a good idea to get yourself registered to a doctor’s near your uni, as nobody wants to pay £8.20 for a new asthma pump when they don’t need to.
NHS dental check ups are free for all people in Scotland, people up to 25 in Wales and people either up to 18, or up to 19 and in full time education in England and N.I. If you need more than a check up you will have to pay, unless you have an HC2 certificate, are pregnant or have had a child in the past 12 months.
To get free dental check ups and treatment you need to get an HC2 certificate by filling out an HC1 form, you can pick one up from your dentist, opticians or pharmacist, or in England you can order one to be sent to you, in Northern Ireland you can download and print one off, in Scotland you can download and print one off and in Wales you need to call 0845 6031108 and ask for ‘Health Publications’ to get one.
If you’re under 16, or 16, 17 or 18 and in full time education then you’re already eligible for a free eye test. In Scotland you can get a free eye test once every two years between the ages of 16-60. If you’re 18+ and not in Scotland, you can still get a free eye examination with your trusty HC2 form.
EXTRA NOTE: if you’re going to the dentist, pharmacist or opticians really soon (before you’ve had the chance to send off for a HC2 certificate) you can get a refund on your medical bills. Remember to save any receipts you get and attach them to the refund section of the HC1 form.