Low-income seniors can access MSP subsidy

B.C.'s Seniors Advocate urges seniors to check if they are eligible for full or partial payment of their monthly MSP Premium.

  • Jan. 7, 2016 3:00 p.m.

VICTORIA — With the January 1 increase to MSP premiums, British Columbia’s Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, is urging seniors to check if they are eligible for full or partial payment of their monthly MSP Premium.

“Some seniors are paying $900 per year for their MSP and many may qualify for a full or partial subsidy of this amount,” stated Mackenzie.

“Seniors have one of the lowest median incomes and would likely benefit the most from MSP Premium Assistance, however many are not aware that they qualify.”

Mackenzie highlighted the lack of awareness in a 2015 report: Bridging the Gaps. In this report, which randomly surveyed seniors across B.C., it was found that overall awareness of MSP premium assistance was low among survey respondents, with only 39 per cent being aware of the program.

Awareness was lowest amongst those who would most likely qualify — seniors with household incomes under $30,000.

“We must do all that we can to ensure that seniors are aware of, and accessing the assistance they are eligible for,” said Mackenzie.

The Regular Premium Assistance program has five levels of subsidies on a sliding scale for individuals and families earning less than $30,000, with those earning under $22,000 paying no premium at all.

A one-time application must be filled out. Subsequent years are calculated automatically based on the information in the recipients’ income tax returns. Regular Premium Assistance may also be provided retroactively up to six years from the date of application.

As of January 1, 2016, the premiums for those with a net income over $30,000 increased by approximately four per cent over 2015 costs, while premiums for those with incomes less than $30,000 stayed unchanged.

To learn more about, and apply for, Regular and Temporary Premium Assistance, visit http://www2.gov.bc.ca<http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp> or call 1-800-663-7100.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate is an independent office of the provincial government with a mandate of reporting on systemic issues, monitoring seniors’ services and raising awareness of issues affecting seniors in British Columbia. The OSA provides information and referrals through its toll-free line – 1-877-952-3181.

— Submitted by the OSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read