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Subsidy card reduces prescription charges

Last updated 07:55 05/02/2013

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An annual scheme that significantly reduces the amount New Zealanders pay for their prescriptions has started again.

People are eligible for the Pharmaceutical Subsidy Card programme once they have collected 20 new prescription items from February 1. Family members living in the same household can pool their prescription items to reach this total.

Once they receive their card, they do not have to pay any additional prescription charges until February 1 the following year.

The Government subsidises prescription medicines and New Zealanders contribute a small co-payment when they pay a prescription charge. This year the prescription charge increased from $3 to $5 each new prescription item, the first increase in 20 years.

People who already have a subsidy card might not have noticed the increase until now but from February 1 everyone will pay the prescription charge until they reach 20 items and become eligible for the exemption again.

By using the subsidy card, individuals or families will pay a maximum of $100 on prescription charges in any one year.

It is easier if people use the same pharmacy regularly for their prescription items but if they visit a different pharmacy, they can keep the receipts for any prescription items and have them added to their record at their regular pharmacy.

Alternatively, people can collect all their prescription receipts and when they get to 20 new prescription items, take the receipts into any pharmacy and ask for a subsidy card.

See health.govt.nz/medications

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- Manukau Courier

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