January 4, 2016 4:03 pm
Updated: February 18, 2016 6:49 pm

Low-income seniors reminded of MSP subsidy as premiums go up

WATCH: The cost of health care just went up in BC with and increase to MSP premiums. The average family will now pay at least $1,800 per year. Catherine Urquhart has the details:

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After basic MSP premiums went up at the beginning of this month along with a number of other fees and taxes, B.C. Seniors Advocate is reminding low-income seniors there is subsidy available to them.

The MSP tax is going up by four per cent if you earn more than $30,000 a year. One person will now pay $75, a family of two will pay $136 and a family of three will pay $150. The premiums for those with incomes less than $30,000 will stay unchanged.

Isobel Mackenzie says seniors should check if they are eligible for full or partial payment of their monthly MSP premium.

WATCH: Keith Baldrey on MSP premiums


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“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,” said Mackenzie in a release.

Mackenzie highlighted the lack of awareness in her 2015 “Bridging the Gaps” report released in March. She found only 39 per cent of seniors were aware of the program. Awareness was lowest among those who would most likely qualify, the seniors with household incomes under $30,000.

A one-time application must be filled out for the Regular Premium Assistance program, which may also be provided retroactively up to six years from the date of application.

Go here to apply or call 1-800-663-7100.

Check MSP Premium Assistance Eligibility Calculator to determine your eligibility.

With files from Amy Judd

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