VICTORIA, B.C. – Medical Services Plan premiums will be cut by 50% on Jan. 1, 2018.
In addition to the 50 percent rate cut, the income threshold for full exemption from MSP premiums under the premium assistance program will also be raised by $2,000, as of Jan. 1, 2018.
The Liberal Government announced the change in their February budget. According to B.C. Liberal health critic Mike Bernier “The BC NDP, while adopting the reduction, are not abandoning the revenue. They are actively looking to find the money and most likely will raise income tax to pay for it.”
The NDP have created an MSP Task Force to help examine the best approach to replacing the revenue lost by eliminating premiums. As well, the options may not propose retaining MSP premiums, nor increasing the provincial sales tax. The task force is comprised of respected experts in economics, law and public policy, to advise on the best path to eliminating MSP premiums. Government will receive its report by March 31, 2018.
“MSP premiums are unfair and place a significant burden on British Columbians,” Finance Minister Carole James said. “I’m proud that we are moving away from these regressive fees and creating a more equitable system by eliminating MSP premiums entirely within four years.”
On top of the 50 percent reduction, the following changes will also be implemented:
- Enhancements to premium assistance, effective Jan. 1, 2018, mean:
- An individual earning up to $26,000 per year will pay no premiums.
- A couple earning up to $29,000 per year will pay no premiums.
- A senior couple earning up to $35,000 per year will pay no premiums.
- A single parent with two children earning up to $32,000 per year will pay no premiums.
- A couple with two children earning up to $35,000 per year will pay no premiums.