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Swiss health insurance premiums 'set to jump'

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Swiss health insurance premiums 'set to jump'
Federal Health Minister Alain Berset: set to release official figures later this month. Photo: Federal Assembly
10:28 CEST+02:00
Swiss health insurance premiums are set to rise steeply overall next year, according to figures revealed by a Sunday newspaper.

The premiums will jump an average of 3.8 percent but some residents in the canton of Vaud could see hikes of up to 14.1 percent, the highest in the country, SonntagsBlick reported.

Everyone living in Switzerland is required to take out basic health insurance from a private insurer, with costs varying depending on where people live, what company is involved and what the level of coverage is.

Insurance is renewed annually when individuals can change their coverage or their insurer.

The figures released by SonntagsBlick come ahead of a national referendum set for September 28th for a proposed publicly run national health insurance system to replace the current private system involving more than 90 insurers.

The planned average increase, according to the newspaper, compares with premium increases of 2.2 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2013.

While the maximum rise in Vaud is 14.1 percent, the average for the canton will be 3.3 percent, SonntagsBlick said.

The canton of Jura will see increases of up to 13 percent, while average premiums there are set to rise 3.7 percent, the newspaper said.

The lowest maximum increases are set for Geneva (4.8 percent), where the reported average increase is 2.9 percent.

However, it is German-speaking Switzerland where health insurance costs are set to rise the most, the report said.

It published average premium hikes of 5.2 percent in Obwalden and Nidwalden, 4.8 percent in Solothurn and 4.7 percent in Basel.

Some insurers are planning no increase in premiums in nine cantons, the SonntagsBlick data shows.

The figures are based on standard coverage for adults over the age of 26 with a 300-franc deductible.

The federal office for public health is not commenting on the figures, noting that the rates are still in the process of being finalized.

Health Minister Alain Berset was set to release the premium rates, traditionally announced in the fall for the following year, a week ahead of the referendum.

Daniel Habegger, a spokesman for the Swiss association of health insurers, told SonntagsBlick the 3.8 percent average premium increase is line with long-term average annual increases.

The higher rates are needed to continue speedy and effective medical care, he said.

A national insurance scheme “would not alter the steady increase in costs”, Habegger said.

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