Cost of Canada’s free health care continues to rise, finds report

by Leo Almazora14 Aug 2019

The costs Canadian families pay for public health care insurance won’t stop rising in 2019, the Fraser Institute has concluded in a newly released study.

Titled The Price of Public Health Care Insurance, 2019, the study used data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute of Health Information to determine how much Canadian households will pay this year for access to public health services. That includes not just the health insurance “premium” tax that some provinces impose, but also a variety of taxes paid to all levels of government.

“Only when Canadians understand how much we pay for our public health-care system can we better decide whether or not we get good value for our money,” said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of the report.

The report found that in 2019, the average single individual, earning an average income of $44,813, will pay approximately $4,544 for public health care insurance. Meanwhile, the average two-parent, two-child family is expected to pay around $13,311 out of their $140,049 in income for public health care insurance.

Households with two adults and no children are estimated to pay $13,163 on average, while those consisting of a couple and one child are estimated to pay an average of $13,208. The average single-parent household with just one child, in comparison, is expected to spend $4,468 for Canadian health care; families consisting of a single parent with two children are expected to pay $3,833.

The report also compared the figures with past estimates. After adjusting for inflation, the institute projected that relative to estimates from 1997, the cost of public health care insurance has increased by:

  • 73.4%  for the average family with two adults and no children;
  • 73.3% for the average family with two parents and one child;
  • 65.8% for the average family with two parents and two children;
  • 111.4% for the average unattached individual;
  • 86.6% for the average family with one parent and one child; and
  • 77.7% for the average family with one parent and two children

The amount Canadian families pay for health care also varies widely across the income spectrum, the report found. While the 10% of families with the lowest incomes (averaging $15,070 per household) will pay $454 for health care this year, those among the top 10 (averaging $298,872) are projected to pay $39,486.