Annual health-care costs for typical Canadian family may eclipse $14,000 this year

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VANCOUVER – A typical Canadian family of four (two parents, two children) will pay an estimated $14,474 for public health-care insurance this year, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Canadians pay a substantial amount of money for health care through a variety of taxes—even if we 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 Price of Public Healthcare, 2020.

Most Canadians are unaware of the true cost of health care because they never see a bill for medical services, may only pay a small health insurance “premium” tax (in provinces that impose them), and because general government revenue—not a dedicated tax—funds Canada’s public health-care system.

The study estimates that a typical Canadian family consisting of two parents and two children with an average household income of $142,449 will pay $14,474 for public health care this year.

Single Canadians will pay $4,894 for health care insurance in 2020.

Across the income spectrum, the amount Canadian families pay for health care varies widely. For example, the 10 percent of families with the lowest incomes will pay $471 for health care in 2020, while families among the top 10 percent of income earners will pay $39,731.

“In order for Canadians to consistently gauge the performance and fiscal sustainability of the public health-care system, we first have to understand how much we pay for it,” Barua said.


The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research.

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