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

Current forest fires bring back memories of 2003 wildfire in Kelowna

Former Kelowna fire chief says plan should be to throw everything at a forest fire early

Cooler temps today, but no rain in forecast until August

Environment Canada does not have good news when it comes to fighting fires in the Central Okanagan.

Updated: Evacuation order downgraded to alert for properties near Peachland

Crews continue to battle the 1,000 hectare Mount Eneas blaze south of Peachland

Updated: Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

Fire command centre relocating from Penticton to West Kelowna

Firefighting resources to be concentrated out of temporary camp

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Matjicka pulls trick for Silver Stars

Capri Insurance Men’s 55+ Soccer League roundup

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

More space in BC parks and campsites to get away from it all

Province announces an additional 431 campsites throughout B.C. for the 2018 season

Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Garnet Valley Road in Summerland blocked as crews fight wildfire

Homes in Summerland from Wildhorse Road north have been evacuated as Mount Eneas fire continues

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

BC toddler with ‘allergy’ to sun waiting for bone marrow transplant

Charlie Lock, 2, needs treatment for damage caused by rare disorder EPP

Most Read