Not too sure how SPN missed this, but earlier this year (February 16, 2016), the government of BC issued a backgrounder noting payment structure changes to MSP. This announcement contains savings for single parents are lower income families.
In a nutshell:
- Payments will be based solely on the number of adults in a household.
- The threshold for full premium assistance is up from $22,000 in 2016 to $24,000 in 2017.
- The threshold for partial premium assistance, currently topped at $30,000, will be raised to $42,000 in 2017.
From the backgrounder, the following groups of people will see savings:
- A single adult earning up to $42,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
- A single parent with one child earning up to $45,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
- A couple earning up to $45,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
- A single senior earning up to $45,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
- A single parent with two children earning up to $48,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
- A couple with two children earning up to $51,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
- A senior couple earning up to $51,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
According to this CBC news article, there will be some people who will be paying more:
- Couples earning over $45,000 pay additional $240 annually.
- Senior couples earning over $51,000 pay additional $240.
- Single adults earning over $42,000 pay additional $36.
- Couples earning over $51,000, with two children, pay additional $72.
Currently on the MSP website are these current and proposed rates.
From the backgrounder
Changes to Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums and enhancements to premium assistance will improve fairness and help B.C. families with the cost of living. All changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.
With these changes, the calculation of MSP premiums will no longer include children. Instead, the monthly rate for each household will be based only on the number of adults. For example, a household with one parent and two children will be charged the single adult rate, rather than the three-person rate they pay today—saving this family $864 per year. A single adult will pay $78 per month.
The Province will invest an additional $70 million annually to enhance premium assistance, helping more lower-income families, seniors and individuals qualify for reduced rates. Families and individuals receiving premium assistance who currently pay partial premiums will see their premiums reduced, and additional households earning above the current premium assistance threshold will qualify for assistance.
For example, a couple with two children earning up to $51,000 may qualify for assistance, and a single parent with two children earning up to $48,000 may qualify for assistance.
With these changes, an additional 335,000 people will see their premiums reduced, including 70,000 single parent families. An additional 45,000 people will no longer pay MSP premiums at all. Once the changes have been implemented, nearly two million British Columbians will pay no premiums at all.
A new calculator is now available on the government website to help British Columbians estimate whether they could qualify for premium assistance today, and also when the enhancements take effect in 2017.
MSP premiums fund only a small part of the significant investment government makes in health care services every year. MSP premiums are forecast to raise about $2.5 billion in 2016-17, and personal income tax is forecast to raise about $8.2 billion. Total spending on health services in 2016-17 is forecast at $19.6 billion. Corporate income tax, sales tax, natural resource and other government revenues are all required to help fund the cost of health care.
The full backgrounder, along with its list of Quick Facts is available here.