Health-care premium hike hits B.C. taxpayers

Increases in Medical Services Premium, Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan on menu for 2013

As British Columbians embrace the new year, they’ll be greeted with increases in health care deductions.

For the fourth year in a row, the provincial government is raising the monthly Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums from $128 to $133 per family, or an extra $60 a year. However, only those making more than $30,000 a year will be affected.

“Nearly every British Columbian will be paying more in 2013, further cutting our purchasing power and ability to save,” said Jordan Bateman, regional director of the Canadian Taxpayer Federation.

MSP premiums are a tax that virtually every Canadian pays, except in cases where employers pay for their employees, he said.

“The MSP is a grossly unfair, regressive tax,” Bateman said. “If you make $30,001 a year, or $3 million a year, you pay the same $133 a month. MSP is for the little people who don’t work for government.”

MSP charges have increased 24 per cent over the past three years, accruing an extra $300 in annual cost to taxpayers.

“It’s not tied to your income, that’s the worst part,” Bateman said.

Some Canadians will also be faced with increases in Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan deductions.

For those earning $47,400 or higher, EI premiums increase by $51.50 to a maximum of $891.12 per year. Employers will pay $1,247.57 annually, a hike of $71.61.

Workers making $51,100 or more will pay the maximum $2,356.20 for CPP, up by $49.50, while the employer’s share jumps by the same amount to a total of $4,712.40.

reporter@vicnews.com