B.C. MSP premium changes: poor families pay less, middle income earners pay more

The B.C. government will eliminate MSP payments for children, but increase payments for many people who earn more than $42,000.

B.C. to eliminate MSP payments for children, but increase payments for many who earn over $42K

The B.C. government estimates it will bring in more than $2.5 billion from MSP premiums next year, up $124 million from this year. (Getty Images/Gallo Images)

The B.C. government announced dramatic changes to its much-criticized Medical Services Plan on Tuesday, with an emphasis on helping low-income families and single parents, but placed an increased burden on some who make only a modest income.

The government will eliminate MSP premiums for children, and greatly reduce premiums for many single parents, and people earning less than $42,000.

B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong called the changes, which will take effect Jan. 2017, "a significant shift."

"For 70,000 single parent families, that will at a minimum translate into an $800-plus savings per year," de Jong said.

Many will save more, de Jong noted, for example, single parents with two children who earn between $36,000 and $44,000 will pay roughly $1,100 less than they do this year.

But others — such as many seniors and couples with no children — will be paying much more in MSP premiums to ensure the government doesn't collect less money overall.

Those who will pay more for MSP (annually)

  • Couples earning over $45,000 pay additional $240 annually.
  • Senior couples earning over $51,000 pay additional $240.
  • Single adults earning over $42,000 pay additional $36.
  • Couples earning over $51,000, with two children, pay additional $72.

Essentially, the government refused calls to put an increased burden on high-income earners, or roll MSP into income tax increases, opting instead to spread the increase evenly from middle — and arguably lower-middle — income earners to high earners.

But de Jong says the new structure will be "fairer" than the existing system, in which those earning more than $30,000 all pay the same MSP premiums.

The government forecasts it will collect an additional $124 million in MSP premiums next year, though it cautions part of that is due to population growth.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.