International students will soon pay less for their BC health plans, but are excluded from steeper discounts offered to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.
The monthly cost of BC’s MSP (health insurance) plan will drop by 50 percent on January. 1. Instead of paying up to $75 per month for MSP, a single person will now pay a maximum of $37.50 a month.
That means that international students and recent graduates with a Post-Graduation Work Permit will pay $450 a year for access to doctors and hospital care. Students with a spouse will pay $900.
The province is offering steep discounts to low-income residents of the province. For example, there is no charge for adults who earn less than $26,000 a year, and the monthly rate is just $11.50 for a single person who earns between $26,000 and $28,000 a year.
Students won’t get that discount, even if they have very low incomes and high tuition costs.
There are more than 130,000 international students studying in B.C., and they currently contribute $9.7 million in premiums. Reduction in premium rates will cost the province $1.24 billion for the year 2018-19.
British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James has set up a task force to find a way of eliminating premiums altogether in four years. The task force will deliver the report by March 31, 2018.
Eight of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories include international students in the public health insurance system that provides Canadians and permanent residents with medical care. Refer to this list to see how coverage for international students compares across Canada.