BC is on track to eliminate Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums on January 1st, 2020, following new legislation introduced today.

The move is expected to save individuals approximately $900 a year and families up to $1,800 a year, according to the NDP government.

To replace the MSP premium model, the Employer Health Tax (EHT) was introduced on January 1st, 2019. The move shifts the majority of healthcare costs from individuals to businesses, which has been met with mixed reception.

In October 2018, the Ministry of Finance assured business owners that less than 5% of BC businesses will pay the full EHT rate of 1.95%, with the majority of small business being bolstered by a $500,000 exemption amount.

“After years of MSP premium increases, our government is proud to be moving forward in meeting our promise to end this regressive tax,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, in a statement.

British Columbia is the only province in Canada to still charge a monthly health-care premium.

Additionally, amendments to the legislation now limit the power given to the Medical Services Commision, which is responsible for managing MSP for the provincial government.

The commission will no longer set and collect premiums after January 1st, 2020, but will continue with its other responsibilities, including enrolling residents in MSP and collecting unpaid premiums from previous billing cycles.

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