New year, new safety net for prescriptions


Peter pharmacist Ahuriri Pharmacy prescription subsidy card save medicines

The new year has started and those that have a Prescription Subsidy Card (PSC) will have started to accrue payments to go towards their new cards. The PSC allows the cardholder and named family members to pay a lower amount on government prescription charges.The purpose of the card is to help people who face high prescription costs. There is no income testing for the PSC. It is also known as a Safety Net Card, Pharmaceutical Subsidy Card, Exemption Card or Discount Card.

By using the Prescription Subsidy Card, individuals or families will pay a maximum of $100 on prescription charges in any one year. Once you and your family have collected 20 new prescription items in a year, you can get a PSC. This means you won’t have to pay any more prescription charges until 1 February the following year. The card does not cover herbal remedies, supplements that are not classified as medicines, or medicines that you can buy over the counter (that is, without needing a prescription).

Any member of a family unit, usually the primary caregiver, will hold the PSC. A family unit can mean:

  • a married (or de facto) couple, with one or more dependent children or

  • a married (or de facto) couple, with no dependent children or

  • one person with or without children.

As a service, we will automatically keep a prescription count for you. Make sure we know the names and ages of all the people who may be eligible to be recorded as part of your family for the subsidy card. We will issue a PSC once a family unit has paid for 20 subsidised prescription items since 1 February of any year. If you go to a different pharmacy keep your receipts and show them to us so we can add them to your PSC record.

If you don’t have a usual pharmacy keep all your receipts for prescriptions for your family. When you get to 20 items, take them into a pharmacy and ask them for a card.We do not charge for this service. Keep it in a safe place. If you always come to us then we will keep a record for you, so you will not need to take it with you when you get a prescription. If you visit a different pharmacy, take the card and present it with your prescription.

Government prescription charges are made up of several different parts and can be very complicated. If you have any questions about the charges you pay, please talk to us.


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