As British Columbia moves to abolish its Medical Service Plan (MSP), they created a new alternative system that requires international students to pay for health care.
In MSP, international students in post-secondary students pay $37.50 per month. All residents in BC are required to pay this amount, but it puts quite a strain on individuals and families. Its eliminations will reduce taxes on individuals and businesses. The Employer Health Tax was then introduced last January 2018 to replace it.
While this poses good news for the average British Columbian, it takes a toll on international students, who now need to pay $75 per month on healthcare starting this September. That’s double the price they previously had to pay. Aside from that, students in the K-12 students will also be required to pay a fee of $37.50 per month. Prior to this, K-12 did not have to pay anything.
“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.,” says Health Minister Adrian Dix.
At present, BC is one of the very few provinces to provide healthcare for international students. The public health care plans in the two provinces with the largest number of international students, Ontario and Quebec, do not cover international students, so they would have to get private health care instead, which could end up more costly or inconvenient for students.
“We have an exceptional health-care system in B.C., and we want to ensure it remains a fair system for everyone,” says Dix.
While the BC government understands the consequences of the new policy, this is their way of making sure that international students can still contribute and, at the same time, benefit from their system.