What you need to know about the health care market
Health insurance coverage and the health-care law are both key issues facing Canadians in the coming months.
But how much insurance coverage they will have, how much it will cost and how quickly will premiums start to rise can all depend on how the marketplace will work.
As of Dec. 31, the government has created three tiers of insurance, and there is a third one that has yet to be created.
All three will cost premiums up to $1,100 a year for people with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000, depending on their age.
The third tier will be created after Dec. 29, but there is no word yet on when it will open.
The first two will cover most of the population, with coverage available to people under 65 and those who do not have health insurance at work or through a family member.
The third tier covers people over 65 with a minimum income of $45,000 a year, depending where they live.
The government said on Wednesday that it is aiming to open the third tier of insurance to people with an annual income of between $70,000 to $100 and $125,000.
This is the new tier that will provide coverage for people who earn $50,000 or less and people with income of more than $120,000 annually.
The third and final tier will allow people to buy health insurance for as little as $1 a month, a far cry from the $3 to $5 a month that people pay now.
The plan will be offered through a combination of government-run and private insurance exchanges, as well as by the provinces, and will also allow people who do have insurance to continue to do so by paying premiums directly to their insurers.
The premiums will be charged in the form of a flat rate, which will not increase as high as the current federal tax credit.
People who buy health coverage through an exchange will also pay no premiums at all.
It is unclear how the third and last tier will work and whether the new tiers will cover people who buy their coverage through a private insurer, or through an employer.
In the last three years, about 5,400 people have purchased private health insurance through the federal exchanges, according to a study by Health Affairs Canada.
The study did not estimate how many of them would end up with premiums of between about $1 and $3 a month.
The government has said it expects that number to increase as people shop for health insurance.