Information Now

Help with health costs

Most NHS services are free, however there are charges for some things. If you are aged over 60 years old, in receipt of certain benefits, or are on a low income, you may be entitled to free treatment or help with some of these health costs.

What help is available?

NHS treatment is usually free, but there are a cost for some services.

If you are under 19, over 60, receiving benefits, pregnant or had a baby in the last 12 months, have a certain medical condition or if you get a war pension you may be able to get help with health costs such as:

  • NHS prescriptions
  • NHS dental treatment
  • sight tests, glasses or contact lenses
  • travel costs to and from hospital for NHS treatment
  • wigs and fabric supports, such as abdominal and spinal supports

Visit for more information about whether you are eligible and how to claim.


Help with health costs

NHS continuing healthcare

The rules for help with health costs if you receive Universal Credit can be found on NHS

NHS Continuing Health Care may be provided in different settings including your home or a care home. A team of healthcare professionals (a “multidisciplinary team”) will assess your needs. This could be done before a hospital discharge or when carrying out a care and support assessment.  The whole health and care team will look at all your care needs and relate them to:

  • what help you need
  • how complex your needs are
  • how intense or severe your needs can be
  • how unpredictable they are, including any risks to your health if the right care isn’t provided at the right time

Your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare depends on your assessed needs, and not on any particular diagnosis or health condition. If your needs change then your eligibility for NHS continuing healthcare may change.

Other help with costs

Sometimes you may find that your needs are met by the local Council and the NHS and this is called a “joint package of care”.

You may be eligible for help with health costs owing to your circumstances. You may have a long term health condition that requires regular medication eg Multiple Sclerosis or diabetes or you may be pregnant or in receipt of cancer treatment.

If you’re entitled to help with health costs you can get:

  • free NHS prescriptions
  • free dental treatment
  • free wigs and fabric supports
  • free sight tests and help with the cost of glasses and contact lenses
  • help with travel costs for NHS treatment

There is a more general advice page about eligibility for healthcare costs, including prescriptions on NHS online.

Financial help as a carer

As a carer you may be entitled to help with certain health care costs for the person you look after.

To be assessed for NHS Continuing Health Care a qualified healthcare nurse assessor would complete a checklist tool. This could be done before a hospital discharge or when carrying out a care and support assessment.

Visit Newcastle Carers’ Information Hub for more details on NHS continuing healthcare.

There is a more general advice page about eligibility for healthcare costs including prescriptions on NHS online

Other Useful Information

Help with health costs – Age UK’s factsheet.

Please see the other related healthcare articles on Information Now for more information.

Last updated: August 21, 2019

Send us a comment about this page

Before you go, please help us

    We will use this information to help improve InformationNOW. See our privacy policy for more details*