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Health care insurance for Canadian family almost $12,000 per year

Staff writer |
A typical Canadian family of four will pay $11,735 for public health care insurance in 2015, finds a new study by the Fraser Institute.

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The study, The Price of Public Health Care Insurance, helps Canadians better understand the cost of public health care for them and their families.

“Contrary to what many believe, health care in Canada isn’t free. While Canadians may not pay directly for medical services, they pay a substantial amount of money for health care through their taxes,” said Bacchus Barua, study co-author and senior economist in the Fraser Institute's Centre for Health Policy Studies.

Most Canadians are unaware of the true cost of health care because they never see a bill for medical services and only pay a small so-called “premium” for health-insurance (in provinces that impose them).

Moreover, general government revenue—not a dedicated tax—funds health care, making it difficult for Canadians to decipher how much of their tax dollars actually go towards health insurance. The Price of Public Health Care Insurance answers that question, using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

The study finds the average Canadian family with two parents and two children earning $119,082 will pay $11,735 for public health care insurance in 2015. A single individual earning $42,244 can expect to pay $4,222.

The study also tracks the cost of health care insurance over time: Between 2005 and 2015, the cost of health care for the average Canadian family (all family types) increased by 48.5 percent, dwarfing increases in income (30.8 percent), shelter (35.9 percent) and food (18.2 percent).

“Over the past decade, the cost of health care in Canada has grown 1.6 times faster than average income,” Barua said.

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