December’s Medical Services Plan premium is the last one British Columbians will have to pay, as the province moves to fully funding its healthcare system through a payroll-based tax on employers.
BC is the only province that still charges individuals and families a monthly fee to be eligible for healthcare services. Premier John Horgan campaigned on a promise to scrap the premiums, and last year the province cut them in half before beginning to collect the Employer Health Tax this year.
Adults making more than $42,000 per year need to pay $37.50 a month in MSP premiums, and needed to pay $75 per month in 2017. The premiums have been criticized as regressive and unfair, since people making $500,000 a year pay the same monthly premiums as people making a $50,000 salary.
In 2020 and beyond, the provincial government will finance its public health system with money collected through a tax on employers.
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Businesses with payrolls below $500,000 are exempt. But ones with larger payrolls pay between 1.95% and 2.925% in health tax based on how much they pay their employees.
Some in the business community have criticized the way the EHT was rolled out, in particular how the government collected premiums — since some employers pay MSP premiums as part of their benefits packages.
Even though BC will no longer have MSP premiums in the new year, the province says on its website that any outstanding MSP debts must still be paid.