British Columbia

B.C. says bye bye to Medical Services Plan premiums

Premiums under the province's MSP will be eliminated starting Jan. 1, saving individuals up to $900 a year and families up to $1,800 annually.

The last bills for monthly MSP premiums are in the mail and starting Jan. 1, B.C. will be MSP premium free

British Columbians are in line to save hundreds of dollars a year with the Jan.1 elimination of the Medical Services Plan premiums. (CBC)

The last Medical Service Plan premium bills are now in the mail as British Columbians get set to ring in the new year by joining all Canadians in not paying monthly rates for health care.

Premiums under the province's MSP will be eliminated starting Jan. 1, saving individuals up to $900 a year. Families stand to save up to $1,800 annually. The total amount of the net tax cut is $800 million.

"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," said B.C. Premier John Horgan.

Finance Minister Carole James says overseeing MSP premiums has been the most complex of any of the province's programs. Eliminating it will save over $50 million annually in administrative costs.

The change comes a year after premiums were halved and B.C. introduced a new employer health tax of 1.95 per cent for businesses with a payroll over $1.5 million.

Companies with a payroll under $500,000 are exempt from the health tax, while those who fall in between will pay a reduced rate.

Some business owners have complained the new tax is an unfair burden to their bottom line.

Before fully eliminating MSP premiums, B.C. was one of the last provinces in Canada to have user premiums for health care.

With files from Canadian Press


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