International students continue to contribute to B.C. health care as MSP premiums eliminated

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    Victoria: As the Province eliminates Medical Service Plan (MSP) premiums for British Columbians, an updated payment method will ensure international students continue to contribute to, and benefit from, B.C.’s health-care coverage.

    Under the old MSP system, international students, like all British Columbians, were required to pay premiums as part of their health-care coverage. On Jan. 1, 2020, MSP premiums will be eliminated and a new method is required by which international students contribute to their coverage under the B.C. health-care system.

    Under the updated system, effective Sept. 1, 2019 all international K-12 and post-secondary students will begin paying a monthly health-care coverage fee of $37.50. On Jan. 1, 2020, with the elimination of MSP premiums, the health-care coverage fee for international students will be $75 per month.

    “For almost 30 years, B.C. has provided international students with provincial health coverage, while asking them to contribute a reasonable amount to help cover those costs. This updated payment method for international students continues that commitment,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

    Earlier this year, the Province passed legislation to end MSP premiums on Jan. 1, 2020, in one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in British Columbia’s history. The updated health-care coverage requirements for international students are part of this transition.

    “We have an exceptional health-care system in B.C., and we want to ensure it remains a fair system for everyone,” said Dix. “In eliminating MSP premiums for British Columbians and through the health services fee for post-secondary and K-12 international students, we’re ensuring that we all continue to contribute to and benefit from public health care in B.C.”

    Quick Facts:

    • In 1992, B.C. determined that all international students attending schools and post-secondary institutions in the province would receive provincial health coverage, and that they would contribute a reasonable amount to support the benefit.

    • Ontario and Quebec receive the largest number of international students, and do not provide international students with coverage under their public health-care plans. They require international students to purchase private health-care coverage.

    • With the 50% reduction in B.C.’s MSP premiums earlier this year, post-secondary international students currently are paying $37.50 per month in MSP premiums. On Sept. 1, 2019, the health-care coverage fee will restore their contributions to the original $75 per month.

    • In January 2017, the requirement to contribute to MSP premiums was removed for international K-12 students. As of Sept. 1, 2019, the contribution of international K-12 students will be restored, through participation in the $37.50 monthly health-coverage fee.

    • As of Jan. 1, 2020, when MSP premiums will be fully eliminated in B.C., the health-care coverage fee for all international students will be $75 per month.