MSP assistance will help more seniors

Not all seniors are taking advantage of MSP assistance that could help them reduce the amount they pay.

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, says Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart.

“MSP premium assistance can make a big difference for many of our loved ones—our parents or grandparents,” Tegart said recently. “Thanks to the work of our province’s seniors’ advocate, we know that many seniors who could be receiving help with the premiums have not applied.” 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.

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. As a result of enhancing premium assistance in 2017, a single senior earning up to $45,000 may qualify for reduced premiums, while 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.

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. Copies of the guide are available at Tegart’s office, the Better At Home office, and the Ashcroft Village Office. Anyone needing help with forms can contact Tegart’s constituency office at 405 Railway Ave., Ashcroft, phone (250) 453-9726 or toll-free 1-877-378-4802.