Author Topic: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.  (Read 94 times)

Offline kimmy

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Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« on: June 21, 2017, 11:51:27 pm »
I pay out of pocket for optical care, for dental care, and for prescription drugs.

I can only start claiming tax deductions for these expenses once they cross an absurdly high threshold-- 3% of my income, if I recall.

For people with extended benefits-- for example Members of Parliament, government workers, and the like-- their medical and dental benefits are tax-exempt.

Where's the fairness in that?

 -k

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Offline jmt18325

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Re: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 12:00:32 am »
I think the fairness went out the window when the Liberals realized that taxing said benefits would be political suicide.  It would have been (was) a good idea, and it should still happen.  It won't happen for a while now though.

Offline cybercoma

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Re: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2017, 11:15:09 am »
It's insane to me that we celebrate our healthcare system, yet don't have universal payer for vision, dental, and prescription drugs. We need to work towards covering those things as well.

Offline jmt18325

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Re: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2017, 07:17:08 pm »
It's insane to me that we celebrate our healthcare system, yet don't have universal payer for vision, dental, and prescription drugs. We need to work towards covering those things as well.

Agreed completely.  Health should never be a private sector matter.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 10:21:19 am by jmt18325 »

Offline msj

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Re: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 12:06:06 am »
Agreed.

I pay MSP premiums for my staff and that is a taxable benefit: included as taxable income on their T4 for income taxes and CPP purposes. 

Also pay into a health service trust for them and is that taxable?

Nope, non-taxable benefit. 

I get a tax deduction while they/I partipate in the plan and pay no income tax on it.

In my healthy years I use my health trust to pay for registered massage therapy for "stress relief."

Sometimes the wife and I go to Scandinave spa in Whistler and buy the RMT treatment and then use the pools/sauna/steam room for a few hours.  All for "free" (well, in my case, as a tax deduction since I am paying into the plan).

So, yes, this is nauseating and is a violation of the horizontal equity principle: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/horizontalequity.asp



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Offline kimmy

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Re: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 08:37:05 am »
The Liberals were reportedly looking at taxing tax-exempt benefits... but that may have fallen off the radar when the public reaction wasn't very positive.

Universal prescription drug coverage has been talked about from time to time... never by anybody in a position to do anything about it, as far as I know. And things like optical and dental never seem to be talked about, probably because to this point a majority have extended coverage.  But that may change in the near future because fewer people are working in jobs that provide benefits.

 -k

Offline SirJohn

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Re: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 12:02:01 pm »
It's insane to me that we celebrate our healthcare system, yet don't have universal payer for vision, dental, and prescription drugs. We need to work towards covering those things as well.

I agree. While I think we need to open up our health care system to private sector outfits and private money, as they do in Europe, I also think it's absurd that people can't afford the dental, eye care and prescriptions they need.

I grew up poor. I grew up with lousy teeth. Terrible teeth, which I knew were terrible, so I didn't put much effort into them, which made them even more terrible. When did I finally get them fixed? When I went to work for the government. Even then there's a cap on 'cosmetic' work, so I spent thousands, and ultimately, almost fifteen thousand of my own money to get my teeth in shape. I couldn't afford that when I was poor or lower middle class.

Eyecare. When you go to get glasses you're presented with different priced options for the lenses. Unless you've seen through a prescription pair of eyeglasses with the middle level lenses, and then one with the highest level, you fail to appreciate the difference. It's substantial. The best lenses deliver more clarity and more light. But if you're not reasonably well off you can't afford them.

As for prescriptions, New Zealand has some of the cheapest prescriptions out there because they negotiate a discount based on their size. There is no reason Canada couldn't do the same and save billions on the cost, but the federal government shows little interest in doing so.

Offline cybercoma

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Re: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2017, 11:19:28 am »
The other thing is that most employment coverage is highly inadequate for eye care. I've got alright coverage for dental, but I've never seen eye care provide any more than the cost of an exam and about $200 for glasses. I literally cannot buy glasses for less than $400 with how blind I am. My last pair were over $700 in order to help reduce eyestrain from working at a computer monitor all day long. It's crazy what glasses cost these days. My current employer has plans that you can buy into at different levels, but I have a hard time justifying paying into greater coverage when I could just pay into the glasses themselves.

Offline Goddess

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Re: Extended benefits, drugs, dental, optical, etc.
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2017, 12:06:00 pm »
I had just had Lasik surgery for $4000, of which Blue Cross covered $400.  I wish it covered more, as it will save me in the long run but the price was definatelly a financial hit.