What you don’t know about medical insurance might be costing you, but Nancy Anderson has good news she wants to help spread to as many people as possible.
“Many people are unaware of the premium assistance program for lower monthly payments through the provincial medical insurance,” she recently told The News.
The government, through Health Insurance B.C. (HIBC — formerly MSP), pays a portion of the monthly premium for low income households.
A family making $28,000 to $30,000 a year for example, receives a 20 per cent subsidy on the monthly premium of $64 to $128, depending on family size.
Anderson, who works in chiropractor Larry Smith’s office, adds there are deductions that can bring your net income down, meaning a couple over age 65, or a family of three, can earn up to $38,999 a year and still be eligible.
She regularly deals with people who are eligible but aren’t signed up because they don’t know about it, don’t think they are eligible, or think they are already signed up.
She points out PharmaCare, which helps with prescription drug costs, isn’t connected and people might be signed up for one — but not both.
People can also get up to three years of retroactive rebates and once you are signed up they automatically re-adjust your status annually.
One of the complications, she said, is that since the province de-listed (quit paying for) chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy, naturopathic and podiatry in 2002, some people assume they can’t afford those services anymore.
But, Anderson said, premium assistance pays a portion of the cost of 10 visits a year to these “supplementary practitioners.”
People’s HIBC invoice, she said, should indicate whether individuals are paying the full rate or are already on assistance, which most medical practitioners can also check for people.
Anderson urges everyone, especially experts like accountants and medical professionals, to learn and pass on the details to their clients, which she said doesn’t appear to be happening.
Anderson and a pharmacist will speak on the subject at the Parksville Pharmasave, Tuesday, April 24 at 1 p.m.
She also has more information at her office, contact her at 250-248-6333, www.drlarrysmith.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, including the simple forms to apply, check www.hibc.gov.bc.ca or call 1-800-663-7100.
2012 premium assistance rates:
Adjusted net income Subsidy 1 person Family of 2 3+
$0 – $22,000 100% $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
$22,001 – $24,000 80% $12.80 $23.20 $25.60
$24,001 – $26,000 60% $25.60 $46.40 $51.20
$26,001 – $28,000 40% $38.40 $69.60 $76.80
$28,001 – $30,000 20% $51.20 $92.80 $102.40
Over $30,000 Full Rate $64.00 $116.00 $128.00