'Typical' family will pay more than $11K for health care in 2014: Fraser Institute
Olena Lipatov draws blood from Marcel Belanger at the Heart Institute in Montreal on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A typical Canadian family with two parents and two kids will pay up to $11,786 for public health care insurance this year, according to a new study from the conservative think tank Fraser Institute.
Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Fraser Institute study estimated the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay for public health insurance this year. The study also looked at how much the cost of public health insurance has increased over the last decade.
According to the study, Canadian families will pay on average between $3,592 to $11,786 for public health insurance in 2014, depending on the size of their family. For the purposes of their research, the study authors looked at six different family types.
The study found that over the last 10 years, the cost of public health care insurance for the average Canadian family has increased:
- 1.5 times faster than average income
- 1.3 times as fast as the cost of housing
- 1.6 times as fast as clothing costs
- More than three times as fast as the cost of food
The study's authors, Fraser Institute economists Bacchus Barua and Milagros Palacios, said they embarked on the study to help Canadians understand how much health care personally costs them. This way they can decide for themselves whether they are getting good value for their tax dollars, they said.
"Health care in Canada is not 'free,'" they write in the study. "While Canadians may not be billed directly when they use medical services, they pay a substantial amount of money for health care through the country's tax system."
The authors also note that because there is no "dedicated" health insurance tax, it's hard for Canadians to "fully appreciate" how much they pay towards the health care system. And, they argue, because health services in Canada are free at the point of use, many people grossly underestimate the "true cost" of care.
The study also found the following:
- The average single Canadian earning about $42,000 will pay $4,381 for public health care insurance in 2014.
- Over the last decade, the cost of health care insurance for the average Canadian family increased by 53.3 per cent. This is larger than the increase in income (34.7 per cent), shelter costs (40.7 per cent), clothing costs (33.4 per cent) and food costs (15.6 per cent).
The authors also looked at the average cost for public health insurance among different income groups and found the following:
- The 10 per cent of families with the lowest income will pay an average of $523 for public health insurance in 2014.
- The 10 per cent of families with an average income of $57,818 will pay an average of $5,522 in 2014.
- Families in the top 10 per cent of income earners will pay $37,239 for public health insurance in 2014.