Editor: I received a report from the Fraser Institute about the actual cost of public health care insurance for the average Canadian. I found it very interesting, so I did a little research on my own costs, and also found out what it costs my relatives in the U.S. for health insurance. We in Canada pay provincial medicare premiums, plus extra amounts in provincial and federal taxes.
A single individual earning $36,962 a year pays $3,607 for medical insurance.
A married couple with no children, with an income of $92,709 a year, pays $10,707 a year for medical insurance. A married couple with two children and an income of $105,712 a year pays $10,468 for Medical Insurance. A person earning $241,549 ends up paying $32,116 in medical insurance. Prescription drugs are included, but depending on income, they are subject to deductable of between $1.000 to $5,000 a year.
To cover health care costs for my wife and I, we have three insurance policies — the B.C. Medical Insurance Plan, the Public Service Health Care Plan, and the Public Service Dental Plan. I was in the air force, so qualify for veterans’ assistance.
My direct insurance costs are $1,593 per year, but I also pay the first $3,000 for prescription drugs with 80 per cent of this covered by the Public Service Health Care Plan. I am unable to calculate the portion I pay in taxes, but if it is $5,000, then my medical costs me close to $10,000 per year.
We often hear about the high costs of health insurance in the U.S. My wife’s sister lives near Los Angeles, and is a senior. She pays $2,500 per year and Medicaid picks up about $2,000 per year, because she is a senior. In the U.S., 76 million people with low incomes are also covered by Medicaid.
Otherwise, it is a straight insurance plan. One takes out the insurance they believe they need. I have a nephew and his wife in the U.S., who each pay $1,578 per month, and are covered for everything, including very expensive operations. Doctors and hospitals are not allowed to turn away emergency care clients because they may not be able to pay.
Obviously this issue needs more study, but we should not condemn or support either the Canadian or U.S. system unless we know all the facts. One thing is certain, first-class medical services are expensive and they must be paid for.
When I was working, I was involved with two doctor-owned clinics in Vancouver. I was surprised to find out that about 10 per cent of their customers paid cash, because they decided they did not wish to pay their B.C. Medical Premiums. I would appreciate replies and input from others, as some intelligent debate is needed.
Eric J. Bysouth,