How to look after your health for less

How to look after your health for less

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

It’s always important to look after your health. Even more so in times like these. But looking after your health can be costly, especially if you have multiple prescriptions. We look at some ways to stay healthy for less.


1. Buy drugs from the supermarket instead of from the pharmacy 

For minor illnesses you can buy certain medicines over the counter without needing a prescription from a doctor. Opt for unbranded medicine from the supermarket rather than buying a specific brand from a pharmacy.  

Branded medicine is usually named by the pharmaceutical company that originally developed the drug. Once their exclusive rights for selling the drug have expired, other companies are then able to make their own version of the medicine under a different name.  

Theres often little difference between the branded and the non-branded medicine. They both have the exact same active ingredient. For example, ‘Panadol’ is a brand name whereas ‘Paracetamol’ is the active ingredient. At Tesco, 12 Panadol tablets will cost £1 but 16 unbranded Paracetamol tablets will cost you 75p. 

2. Switching your health insurance    

In the UK approximately 4 million people pay for private health insurance. And despite being relatively costly, this number is currently on the rise. However, there are some ways you can keep costs down without compromising your health care package too much, such as switching your health insurance provider.  

Some people are entitled to health insurance through their work, so its always worth checking whether that is an option before you commit to finding health insurance elsewhere.  

Health insurance companies offer different deals at different times. Try using a comparison website such as Money Supermarket to work out which option suits you best. 

Some providers may offer a cheaper package deal for a similar level of cover to what youre already receiving. But if you do decide to switch you need to be sure that youre still getting the right level of cover that matches your needs.  

You could also consider paying for your health insurance annually rather than monthly as this can save you money.  

Also remember the NHS offers excellent healthcare for people in the UK. Private healthcare doesn’t mean better treatments for illnesses, and the standard is still the same.   

3. Use pre-paid NHS cards for multiple prescriptions  

If you know that youre going to need to pay for multiple prescriptions, you should consider investing in a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC). You can buy them online and they may make your prescriptions slightly cheaper.  

There are two options to choose from:  

  1. The 3-month PPC is £29.65 and will save you money if you need more than 3 items in 3 months.  
  2. The 12-month PPC is £105.90 and will save you money if you need more than 11 items in a year.  

There are several payment options available and once youve placed your order you should receive your certificate details via email.   

You can also order over the phone as well as online. You’re able buy your PPC directly from a pharmacy as well, but this means you won’t be able to pay for it via direct debit.  

4. Free prescription deliveries  

Free online prescription services are available with Echo. Echo is a service provided by Lloyds Pharmacy and approved by the NHS. 

Its available to anyone who is entitled to repeat prescriptions. Postage is free and PPCs are accepted, as well as NHS exemptions.   

All you need to do is download the app or sign up via the website. Once you’ve signed up, youll need to register your GP as well as request the medication you wish to receive. Echo will get confirmation of your medication from your GP. 

You can have your prescription delivered to any address within the UK and most medicines will fit into a standard sized post box.  

If you're looking for ways to stay fit at home, read on here. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

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