Oh, Canada. Land of the free, at least for those who live here. It's a different story for international students, though. The MSP is B.C.'s mandatory medical plan, meant to cover all doctor's fees for residents of the province. As of Wednesday, January 1, 2020, it's totally free now for British Columbians. B.C. made healthcare free for everyone except international students are now paying double.
But while domestic premiums were halved in 2018 and entirely eliminated in 2020, international premiums rose from $37.50 to $75 per month. There are 130,000 international students in B.C. who now have to pay more.
“This is just the beginning of how we’re making life more affordable for people,” said Finance Minister Carole James in a press release.
20-year-old Asli Sozen is studying creative writing with a minor in psychology at UBC. She is also an international student from Turkey. "I don't really go to the doctor that much, so is it going to be worth it if it's $75?" she told Narcity.
International students face higher tuition prices than Canadians — up to over four times the regular tuition for domestic students in B.C., according to Universities Canada.
By cutting MSP premiums by 50% this year, people are already saving $75 each month. Eliminating MSP premiums by 202… https://t.co/SZzzUPiWHf— BC Government News (@BC Government News)1546027200.0
Domestic tuition for students at UBC ranges from $5,399 to $7,185. The number jumps to $29,713 to $38,052 for international students.
$75 CAD health-care coverage is a bargain anywhere in the world for a non-resident. If foreign student fees do not… https://t.co/bUwmVWlSyG— Evita Siu (@Evita Siu)1578360519.0
Tanysha Klassen, the chair of the student federation, told CBC that the coverage increase will be harsh for many international students.
She also said that B.C. is the only province to include international students under provincial healthcare, protecting them from often costly private insurance.
"I think it is a bigger issue of us taking advantage of international students and just using them to balance budgets," said Klassen to the CBC.
However, for domestic residents, it's a different story. Deemed "one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in B.C.'s history" by B.C. Premier John Horgan, the removal of MSP premiums will save individuals $900 dollars a year, amounting to a whopping $800 million net tax cut across the province, their report read.
The very last MSP invoices have now been sent. As of January 1st, MSP premiums are fully eliminated. This is an imp… https://t.co/WbEhrTes60— John Horgan (@John Horgan)1575581774.0
Fortunately for Sozen, she stated that her financial situation was stable."I'm not happy with [the increase], but it wouldn't change the quality of my life here," she said. "It is what it is, I guess."