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 – 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

Community rallies behind Langford man battling lymphoma

More than $20,000 has been raised to help Mike Gordon

Career fair inspires Royal Bay students

Inaugural event brought together 72 workers from various fields

Well-known former B.C. radio personality and politician Barrie Clark dies

Clark remembered as a fair-minded ‘statesman,’ who always saw the big picture

Group calls for limited access to backcountry roads near Jordan River

Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association says closures would limit misuse of woods

Saanich Police speed reader board stolen

Traffic safety device taken from the 4700 block of Interurban Road

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Police officers injured in Trans Mountain pipeline arrests: RCMP

One suffered a head injury after being kicked, another hurt a knee, and a third hurt a hand

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

Horgan promises new school funding formula in B.C.

Premier addresses B.C. Teachers Federation AGM ahead of contract negotiations starting next year

Reader Photos: First day of spring around British Columbia

Our loyal viewers sent us some of their favourite Spring photos from all corners of the province

Human remains found in Campbell River in February under investigation as a homicide

In mid-February, RCMP announced that human remains had been located in a… Continue reading

Five Canadian kids charged with making school threats

Police say online threats are on the rise

Not even Ellen DeGeneres can get Virtue, Moir to say they’re more than friends

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Tuesday

RCMP warn public to stop pouring gas on fires after three incidents

Police responded to three recent incidents that sent seven people to hospital

Most Read