MSP could benefit more seniors

More people qualify for assistance with Medical Services Plan premiums next year and it’s important to remind seniors

  • Mar. 24, 2016 2:00 p.m.

More people than ever qualify for assistance with Medical Services Plan premiums next year and it’s important to remind seniors to ensure they are eligible, Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo says.

A recent survey by B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie 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.

“Many of our seniors don’t have a lot of disposable income, so this assistance will give them some financial relief,” Kyllo said. “Our government is able to invest in priority programs such as this because of our disciplined fiscal planning, which has resulted in four straight balanced budgets.”

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.

Anyone needing help with forms can contact Kyllo’s constituency office at Suite 202A 371 Alexander St. NE, or call 250-833-7414, or toll-free 1-877-771-7557.

Budget 2016 announced changes to MSP and premium assistance effective Jan. 1, 2017 which will help lower-income families, individuals and seniors with the cost of living.

The B.C. government is investing an additional $70 million annually to enhance premium assistance.

About 335,000 people will see their premiums reduced, and an additional 45,000 people will no longer pay premiums at all in 2017.

As a result of enhancing premium assistance in 2017, a single senior earning up to $45,000 may qualify for reduced premiums. A senior couple earning up to $51,000 may qualify for reduced premiums. This translates into a savings of up to $480 per year for a senior couple and $324 per year for a single senior.

Once the MSP changes from Budget 2016 are implemented Jan. 1, 2017, nearly two million British Columbians will pay no premiums.

The premium assistance program is just one support for lower-income seniors. The recently released 11th edition of the BC Seniors’ Guide provides information on a variety of programs and supports to help seniors in communities throughout B.C.

 

Salmon Arm Observer