Finance Minister Carole James is beginning to phase out Medical Services Plan premiums, which accounted for 17 per cent of B.C. health care spending in the past year. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

EDITORIAL: Fingers crossed for benefits from lower MSP premiums

Residents in Victoria, across B.C. may have more in their pockets at the end of the month

We’ve known for several months that the province would be reducing medical services plan premiums by a healthy amount – 50 per cent – but the strategy was put in place as of Jan. 1.

Call it a late Christmas present, but it’s the gift that may keep on giving for B.C. residents and companies. Estimations are that the average two-adult family will save approximately $900 a year, while singles are expected to save roughly $450.

In Greater Victoria, a significant number of people have their premiums paid fully or partially by their employer, a payment classified as a taxable benefit. So both taxpayers and companies will appreciate the change.

We’re waiting to see how plans to recoup the lost revenue will affect taxpayers, especially when the province has committed $100 million a year to the fentanyl crisis and will spend about $200 million more on health care in general in each of the next three years.

One such revenue boost comes in the form of an increase to B.C.’s carbon tax on fossil fuels on April 1. The move will add 1.5 cents per litre to gasoline and slightly more for diesel fuel, for example.

The elimination of MSP altogether within four years will save the government payments to program administrator Maximus Corp, which signed a five-year deal in 2013 for $264 million. The flip side is that an estimated 360 jobs in B.C. – the number of employees listed on bctechnology.com – would be lost, including many in Victoria.

We ascribe to the fact that nothing in life comes for free, and for the drivers among us, there’s a good chance the lower MSP premiums and the higher gas prices will cancel each other out.

But we’re keeping our fingers crossed that for the majority it translates into a few extra dollars in our pockets at the end of the month, a scenario that would benefit more than simply individuals or couples.

Just Posted

Tsunami 101 on course for UVic

Oak Bay, Saanich, university partner to present info session Feb. 28

Oak Bay Heritage Day honours cultural history

Crowds turn out to explore gems from Oak Bay Archives

Classy cruiser continues to pay it forward

Bike up for sale to fund Sno’uyutth Legacy scholarships

Dance club marks 35 years with Sunday evening shindig

People Meeting People host dinner and dance Feb. 25 at Monterey Recreation

Oak Bay birdie basher targest podium in BC Winter Games

Riley Torstensen competes in doubles badminton at the 2018 BC Winter Games Feb. 22 to25

Oak Bay Heritage Day honours cultural history

Crowds turn out to explore gems from Oak Bay Archives

Video: B.C. firefighters featured in quirky video

Oliver Fire Department posts video about their B.C. volunteer firefighter spring training seminar

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals push Canada into second place

A gold in ski cross and a bronze in bobsleigh as men’s hockey advances to the semis

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Trump says more must be done to protect children

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.

Evangelist Billy Graham has died at 99

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Canadians capture bronze in women’s bobsled event

Canadians Humphries, George take bronze in women’s bobsled event at Olympics

Most Read