Swiss health insurance premiums set to rise again next year
Compulsory medical insurance premiums are likely to increase by up to five percent next year as a result of rising healthcare costs, according to industry body Santésuisse.
In a press release, Santésuisse said the cost of healthcare to insurers had risen “excessively” in 2016 to a huge 31.6 billion francs, a 4.9 percent rise on the previous year.
Outpatient services were a major contributing factor, with a 9.1 percent rise in costs, partly due to the fact that many hospitals were transferring certain treatments from inpatient to outpatient – the cost of which is usually borne by compulsory medical insurance (LaMal).
The costs to insurers of services provided by general practitioners and specialist doctors rose to 4.9 percent on average.
Pharmacies were also affected, with insurers covering 3.7 billion francs in 2016, a rise of 5.4 percent on the previous year.
The rising cost of all these services was to a large extent related to an increase in the price of medication.
“Compared to the modest growth in the Swiss economy, the health economy has proven to be dramatic,” said Santésuisse.
And that’s set to continue, with the organization predicting costs will rise by 5.1 percent this year, with the insured likely to bear the extra through increased premiums next year.
Interviewed by broadcaster RTS on Wednesday, Santésuisse director Verena Nold said that increase would be in the region of four to five percent.
The organization called for reforms in the health system to try and halt rising costs, such as reducing the price of drugs and using more unbranded medication.
LaMal is compulsory for every resident of Switzerland, who may choose to be covered by one of more than 60 private insurance companies. Premiums are set by the insurers each year, usually at the end of September, with figures approved by the federal government.
Since the law on compulsory health insurance came into force in 1996 the average standard premium has risen by 4.6 percent a year, taking monthly payments from 173 francs in 1996 to 428 francs in 2016.