BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Signals Change To MSP Premiums For Single-Parent Families

01/27/2016 03:35 EST | Updated 01/26/2017 05:12 EST
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Lead medical assistant Josephine Chaghuza wears a stethoscope while working in an exam room at a Community Clinic Inc. health center in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S., on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Led by the American Medical Association, three of the top five spenders on congressional lobbying have waged a campaign to urge Congress to revamp the way Medicare pays physicians and end the cycle of 'doc fix' patches. Senate leaders predict quick action on House-passed legislation when Congress returns April 13 from its two-week recess. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CBC News has learned the B.C. government plans to reduce monthly health premiums for single-parent families in its next budget.

The province has repeatedly come under fire for how its medical services plan fees are structured. 

Currently, families of three or more who earn over $30,000 a year all pay $150 a month in fees. Those who earn less than $30,000 can apply for premium assistance to pay less.

CBC legislative reporter Richard Zussman has learned the province will officially announce in its Feb. 16 budget that it will change the MSP fee structure, allowing single-parent families to save $75 a month. 

The changes would take effect Jan. 1, 2017. 

MSP premium rates have gone up 39 per cent since 2009 and have been criticized by many.

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver's first election promise was to replace the fees with a system based on income levels. 

Weaver said B.C. should adopt the Ontario model, which has a sliding scale for incomes between zero and $200,000.

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