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

UPDATE: Pat Bay Highway traffic moving again after motorcyclist rear-ended

Three vehicle collision stalled traffic in southbound lane Wednesday shortly before 4 p.m.

Legalization at the legislature: Victoria celebrates with free cannabis

Longtime cannabis activist Dana Larsen hands out free joints, seeds, plants

Oak Bay’s wolf of Discovery Island ‘alive and healthy’

Park remains open to the public; domestic animals prohibited

MP calls federal government’s cannabis pardon ‘half-baked’

Murray Rankin introduced bill to expunge criminal possession records for free

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Watch: Saanich responds to mock emergency for ammonia Leak

Hazmat suits, emergency centre respond to mock ammonia leak

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

VIDEO: Courtenay marks legalization by passing out free joints

Leaf Compassion celebrates new marijuana law in Courtenay

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Jusu adds hemp extract to the menu in Greater Victoria

Food and beverage product to be enhanced with hemp extract

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Most Read