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2018 ushers in the final days of MSP

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By Brian Kieran

The Medical Services Plan (MSP) likes to grab our money before it’s due so most of us were reminded in December that premiums would be cut by 50 per cent in 2018.

Finance Minister Carole James admits: “MSP premiums are unfair and place a significant burden on British Columbians.”

Thus, James is committed to moving away from these regressive fees and creating a more equitable system by eliminating MSP premiums entirely within four years.

In addition to the 50 per cent rate cut, the income threshold for full exemption from MSP premiums under the premium assistance program has been raised by $2,000 this New Year.

Late last year, the minister established a task force to examine the best approach to replacing the revenue from eliminating MSP premiums. 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.

We anticipate that the most efficient method of “eliminating” MSP premiums will be to roll them into the general income tax regime. MSP covers a mere fraction of BC’s health care costs, but has remained autonomous because governments have wanted to remind us that health care is not free.

Quick Facts:
  • Enhancements to premium assistance, effective Jan. 1 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.
To learn more … about the MSP Task Force and to submit ideas go to: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/msptaskforce/

To find out ... if you are eligible for premium assistance using the online eligibility calculator: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/msp/eligibilitycalculator/
 

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