Barometer: Swiss worried about foreigners, pensions and jobs

The Swiss are becoming more optimistic but concerns remain about refugees, unemployment and pension provision, a survey has found.

Barometer: Swiss worried about foreigners, pensions and jobs
The Swiss still have their worried. File photo: Julia Freeman-Woolpert.jpg

The 2016 Worry Barometer by bank Credit Suisse noted that the economic situation was seen as positive and confidence in institutions had increased.

The survey of 1010 people was carried out in July.

“The Swiss feel less threatened by the problems they face, and their mood is optimistic,” said the report’s authors.

“The issues of adult and youth unemployment, foreigners and refugees, AHV (old age and survivors' insurance) and retirement provisions continue to be their main concerns.”

The top worries in percentage terms of the population were foreigners (36 percent), retirement provision/pensions (28 percent), unemployment (26 percent) and refugees/asylum issues (26 percent).

Youth unemployment, relations with the European Union and health care/insurance concerned more than 20 percent of those polled.

The figures showed a big jump in concerns about traffic, 20 Minuten reported.

Eleven percent considered it one of the top five worries.

The paper quoted CS’s transport expert, Thomas Rühl, as saying traffic jams had increased significantly owing to population growth in recent years.

People were also concerned about a shortage of seats in trains and buses, he said.Even if their worries have not disappeared entirely, the Swiss people are more positive about their own personal economic situation this year than ever before, the report said.

More than two-thirds of the population currently describe their situation as good or even very good, and only a small fraction expect it to worsen.

 A majority expressed confidence in the country’s politicians and business leaders.

As in 2015, the Swiss Federal Court was considered the most trustworthy institution, followed by the Council of States chamber of parliament and the police in joint second position.

While a clear majority did not see joining the EU as an option, confidence in the body had increased “dramatically”, the report said.

Credit Suisse has been producing its annual Worry Barometer for 40 years.


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Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad