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

MOU between UNBC and Nechako Lakes School District#91

Celebration of ongoing educational partnership and programming collaboration

VIDEO: Researchers rely on drones to survey aftermath of B.C. wildfires

UBC researchers are using aerial drones to study the historic 2017 wildfires in the province

Peaceful protest ‘Drumming out drugs’

Welfare day message outside banks to drug dealers and addicts

Mayors meet with B.C. Premier

Roundtable with John Horgan to discuss northern issues

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

Most Read