While Swiss healthcare costs appeared to come down by 4 percent in the first three months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, this reduction is just a mirage, according to Swiss internet comparison site Comparis.
The drop came after the Swiss government pushed down the prices of selected medical services and medicines as part of a bid to put the brakes on spiralling healthcare costs. Those costs have gone up an average of 3.7 percent a year over the last two decades.
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But in a statement, Comparis said the apparent drop in prices from January to March had come about because doctors and hospitals were struggling to update their administration systems to reflect new prices and hadn't yet billed health insurance providers.
The comparison website said those bills would start coming through in the final three quarters of 2018 and all the supposed healthcare savings would evaporate.
Comparis noted medical service providers had in the past found work-around solutions to government-enforced reductions in the prices of some services meaning projected savings to the healthcare system had failed to materialise. This was likely to happen again with the latest round of price reductions.
In terms of medicines, it was the overall quantity being prescribed and the arrival of new, expensive medications that was pushing up costs, rather than the price of individual drugs, Comparis said.
The site is therefore predicting a 4 percent rise in the 2019 cost of basic health insurance, which every Swiss resident is obliged to have.