Fraser Valley/Victoria – A reminder to seniors ( and their families) to check if they are eligible for assistance with Medical Services Plan premiums next year.
A recent survey by the seniors advocate showed just 39 per cent of seniors knew about MSP premium assistance and 66 per cent pay full premiums when the number should be fewer than 50 per cent.
“With the new adjustments to the MSP premiums, more British Columbian’s will be able to receive assistance or not pay premiums at all,” Chilliwack MLA John Martin said. “Many seniors may not realize they qualify and can take advantage of reduced rates.”
“Many seniors are unaware they are eligible for MSP premium assistance,” Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness said. “I encourage all seniors to find out if they’re eligible. Thankfully, the assistance can be provided retroactively for the previous six years.”
In 2017, a single senior could qualify for premium assistance with net income of up to $45,000 a year and pay no premiums with net income less than $27,000. A senior couple could qualify for premium assistance with net income of up to $51,000. This translates into a savings of up to $324 per year for a single senior and $480 per year for a senior couple.
Budget 2016 announced changes to MSP and premium assistance effective Jan. 1, 2017 which will help seniors, lower-income families and individuals with the cost of living. The B.C. government is investing an additional $70 million annually to enhance premium assistance.
MSP premium assistance is based on a household’s net income, adjusted for age, family size and disability status. Currently, a single senior can qualify for assistance with net income of $33,000 a year or less. For a single senior with income less than $25,000, the premium is waived.
A calculator is available to help British Columbians estimate whether they could qualify for premium assistance now and in 2017 at http://ow.ly/Yua7A.
A one-time application must be filled out specifically for the premium assistance program. Retroactive assistance may be provided for up to the previous six years.
Once the MSP changes from Budget 2016 are implemented Jan. 1, 2017, about 335,000 people will see their premiums reduced and an additional 45,000 people will no longer pay premiums.
For more information on MSP premium assistance, visit http://ow.ly/Yua14.