International Students Paying Double for MSP

Marwa Elgabry / January 9, 2020

International students in post-secondary and grades k-12 are now paying double the price for monthly MSP premiums.

(Marwa Elgabry / BCIT News)

It was a happy start to the new year for B.C. residents when the province fulfilled its promise to axe MSP premiums. As of January 1st, premiums have been eliminated for residents. The news wasn’t good for all though, as a 50% price hike was put on international students’ MSP rates. The increase means that international students in post-secondary and grades k-12 will pay $75 a month for health care. Previously, they paid the same rate as B.C. residents, which totaled $37.50 per month. International students voiced their concerns on the heels of what they deem to be an unfair burden to their already high cost of living.

“We already pay more for the costs of being here; international fees to study here, to live here. So that’s another increase of costs for international students” – Fernanda Ribeio, BCIT Television and Video Production student from Brazil

Her peer, Ana Maria Franco, added that avoiding the financial hardship isn’t an option.

“We cannot be without it. So if we ever feel bad or have to go to the hospital it’s so expensive and we have to have MSP.” – Ana Maria Franco, BCIT Television and Video Production student from Brazil

Franco’s concern rings true as all international students in B.C. are required to pay MSP premiums. In contrast, Ontario and Quebec, which receive the highest number of international students in Canada, require that they get private coverage. In B.C., international students have been contributing to MSP for 28 years to date. Since 1992, they have been covered by the health care system and required to contribute to it financially. Though the recent increase has sparked controversy, Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a press release earlier this year that international students’ contribution to health care maintains their eligibility to receive coverage.

The price hike totals an extra $40 per month and an additional $450 annually.

(Marwa Elgabry / BCIT News)