The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

August 20, 2015 05:30 ET

Fraser Institute News Release: Health Care Insurance Costs Typical Canadian Family Almost $12,000 per Year

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Aug. 20, 2015) - A typical Canadian family of four will pay $11,735 for public health care insurance in 2015, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The study, The Price of Public Health Care Insurance, helps Canadians better understands 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 per cent, dwarfing increases in income (30.8 per cent), shelter (35.9 per cent) and food (18.2 per cent).

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

"The real cost of public health care insurance for different family compositions should be a fundamental component of any debate about health care in Canada. Once Canadians know how much they actually pay for health care through taxes, they will be in a better position to decide if the system delivers good value for their money."

Cost of health care insurance for different family types in Canada:

Family Type: Average Household Cash Income Health Care Insurance
Unattached individuals $ 42,244 $ 4,222
2 adults, 0 children $ 104,339 $ 11,767
2 parents, 1 child $ 121,701 $ 12,055
2 parents, 2 children $ 119,082 $ 11,735
1 parent, 1 child $ 54,821 $ 4,641
1 parent, 2 children $ 53,209 $ 3,789

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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. Visit

Contact Information

    For further information & interviews with Mr. Bacchus Barua:
    Aanand Radia
    Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
    (416) 363-6575 Ext. 238