Important reminders for British Columbians as MSP premiums eliminated

THE new year marks the end of Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums, saving B.C. families up to $1,800 a year and individuals up to $900 a year.

While MSP premiums are a thing of the past as of January 1, 2020, here are some important reminders for British Columbians:

British Columbians who had been paying their premiums using auto-payments through their credit card or financial institution are reminded to cancel those automated payments.

British Columbians must also keep their address up to date, which can be done online at:

Although British Columbians will no longer be invoiced for new premiums starting January 1, 2020, elimination of MSP premiums does not forgive outstanding premiums owed.

People may be eligible for relief on premium amounts still owing. For example, retroactive premium assistance could be provided based on net income for a given tax year, family size and disability status.

Although British Columbians no longer pay premiums, they must remain enrolled in MSP. The plan will continue to provide eligible B.C. residents with provincially insured health-care benefits.

For questions about making a payment or account balances, contact Revenue Services of BC, Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; or Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Pacific time) at 1-877-405-4909 (toll-free).

For questions about retroactive premium assistance, or to update a MSP account, contact Health Insurance BC, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Pacific time) at 1 800 663-7100 (toll-free) or 604 683-7151 (Lower Mainland).

Facts about MSP premiums in B.C.

* MSP premiums were introduced in B.C. in 1965. The monthly unassisted premium rates at that time were for:
– one person: $5

– two people: $10

– three or more people: $12.50

* In 2000, a couple paid approximately $768 annually in MSP premiums.

* In 2003, MSP premiums increased to $1,152 annually per couple and continued to rise until 2017, when couples paid $1,800 in MSP premiums every year.

* In 2018, MSP premiums were reduced by 50%, and as of Jan. 1, 2020, were eliminated – representing a net tax cut of $800 million.

* British Columbia was the last province in Canada to maintain Medical Services Plan premiums.