Canadian families facing nearly $13,000 in healthcare costs

by Leo Almazora01 Aug 2018

A new study from the Fraser Institute has found that health care costs for a typical Canadian family of four will reach nearly $13,000 in 2018.

“Health care in Canada isn’t free—Canadians actually pay a substantial amount for public health care through their taxes, even if they don’t pay directly for medical services,” said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the study.

According to Barua, most Canadians are unaware of the true cost of healthcare because they never see a bill for medical services. Those in certain provinces may only pay a modest public health insurance “premium” tax, but by and large, Canadian health care is funded with general government revenue as opposed to a dedicated tax.

Based on figures from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the study determined that a typical Canadian family — with two parents, two children, and a household income of $138,008 — will pay $12,935 for public health care this year. The amount represented a 68.5% increase, after adjusting for inflation, since 1997.

The study also found that single Canadians experienced a bigger increase, with health care costs increasing from $2,115 to $4,640 over the same period. Single parents with one child, who earn $60,526 on average, will pay $4,357 this year.

Looking at healthcare costs as a share of income for 2018, single Canadians took the biggest hit (10.5%), followed by the average Canadian household of two parents and two children (9.4%); families consisting of one parent and one child, meanwhile, are estimated to pay 7.2% of their income for healthcare.

Healthcare costs varied across the income spectrum, according to the analysis. The bottom 10% of Canadian families in terms of income, earning an average of $14,885, will pay $496 this year; the ones among the top 10%, with incomes averaging $291,364 a year, will pay $38,903.

“It’s important for Canadians to understand how much they pay for our public health-care system so they can better decide whether or not they get good value for their tax dollars,” Barua said


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