Finance Minister Mike de Jong cites B.C.'s diversified trade as a reason for its strong economic performance

B.C. BUDGET: Medical premium cut by half promised

Medical Services Plan premiums to drop by half in 2018, Finance Minister Mike de Jong says

The BC Liberal government’s pre-election budget promises to cut Medical Services Plan premiums by half next year, and eliminate them entirely after a consultation period.

The 50 per cent reduction would take effect Jan. 1, 2018 for families with a net income of up to $120,000. That would save an individual paying full premiums $450 a year and an average family of four up to $900. For lower-income B.C. residents, the threshold for paying MSP premiums would rise by $2,000, exempting individuals making up to $26,000 a year and families earning up to $35,000.

RELATED: School funds added in B.C. budget as BCTF talks continue

RELATED: PST relief proposed for business electricity bills

The NDP opposition has promised its own plan to eliminate MSP premiums, with details to come before the provincial election set for May 9.

“It’s going to help a lot,” said Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, who has campaigned against the MSP as a regressive tax. “I want to see it fully eliminated, and I think we’re on that path.”

Jock Finlayson of the Business Council of B.C. said large employers would benefit as well as individuals.

“A fair chunk of that MSP premium reduction is going to flow through to business or employers generally, including public sector employers,” Finlayson said.

Individuals and families paying MSP would be required to register for the reduction, so their income can be verified. Lower-income people receiving premium assistance would be automatically registered for the discount.

Employees should check their pay stubs to see if the discount would benefit them or their employers.

Finance ministry officials say the MSP program has about one million individual and family accounts where people pay directly, and another one million where employers submit the payment. Some employers pay MSP on their employees’ behalf and others deduct MSP charges from employees’ pay.

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Falcons host basketball invitational

40 student volunteers helped support 180 players, 28 games

Atom Stars host hockey tourney

Seven teams from the region clashed sticks

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Food industry failing at voluntary sodium reduction: Health Canada

Health Canada report shows the food industry made no meaningful progress in curtailing salt levels

Most Read