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Last bills mark end of MSP premiums in BC

Premier John Horgan, flanked by Finance Minister Carole James and Health Minister Adrian Dix, said during a media announcement that this change represents one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in B.C.’s history. — Submitted photo

The BC Government recently announced that people in B.C. will receive their last bill for Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums in December 2019, putting more money back into the pockets of British Columbians, as the B.C. government works to make life more affordable for all.

“The cost of health care should not be a burden on people, but for too long, unfair MSP premiums made it hard to get ahead,” said Premier John Horgan in a media release. “Our government is making different choices and we’re working to make life more affordable for people in B.C. This represents one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in B.C.’s history and will make a big difference in people’s lives.”

As of Jan. 1, 2020, MSP premiums will be fully eliminated. Government took the first step towards elimination with a 50% cut in premiums as part of the Budget 2017 Update. Budget 2018 and Budget 2019 provided the road map to one of the largest tax cuts for middle-class British Columbians in B.C.’s history – full elimination of MSP premiums for British Columbians.

“For decades, people in our province had to pay unfair MSP premiums instead of using that money to buy food, help pay the rent or even put their child in after-school care,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “With the complete elimination of MSP premiums, families have more money for themselves and to invest in B.C. businesses. This is good for British Columbians and good for B.C.’s resilient, sustainable economy.”

The elimination of MSP premiums represents a net tax cut of $800 million. Individuals will save up to $900 a year. Families will save up to $1,800 a year. Combined with other measures to make life more affordable, the Province is taking strong action to make life better for people in B.C., such as:

  • funding more than 10,000 affordable child care spaces to date;
  • an Affordable Child Care Benefit that saves families up to $15,000 per year;
  • eliminating interest on B.C. student loans; and
  • 22,000 new affordable homes that are completed or underway.

“The people of our province should be able to access British Columbia’s world-class health care system without having to worry whether or not they can pay their MSP premium,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “With this last bill, people will continue to receive the health care they deserve, while enjoying their savings as a result of the MSP premiums being eliminated.”

Joyce Yan, a new mother who joined Premier Horgan, James and Dix at an event marking the end to the premiums, said, “We have a young family, and although we are both employed, the cost of MSP premiums is a burden on top of everything else our family needs. Having $1,800 back in our pockets takes the pressure off and will make it easier to cover our expenses and add to our savings.”

MSP beneficiaries who have auto-payments through their financial institution are reminded to cancel that arrangement to ensure payments to the Province do not continue. They are also reminded to keep their accounts up-to-date with MSP, including address changes.

Eliminating regressive MSP premiums is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party Caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • Before fully eliminating MSP premiums, B.C. was one of the last provinces in Canada to have user premiums for health care.
  • The provincial government’s administrative savings from eliminating MSP premiums will amount to over $50 million annually.
  • Although MSP premiums are being eliminated, the MSP program will continue to provide eligible B.C. residents with provincially insured health-care benefits.
  • B.C. residents must continue to fulfil their MSP obligations under the Medicare Protection Act and regulations, such as proof of identity, to complete enrolment in MSP and to obtain a BC Services Card, and updating their account in the case of family and address changes.

Learn More:

To apply for retroactive premium assistance, visit: gov.bc.ca/MSP/retropremiumassistance