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MEDICINE

How Swiss healthcare costs have ‘doubled’ since 2000

Recently released figures show that health insurance premiums have doubled in the past 20 years, with some Swiss households spending almost one fifth of their salary on healthcare.

How Swiss healthcare costs have 'doubled' since 2000
Photo: Depositphotos

Figures from the Swiss Trade Union show that costs have increased by 120 percent on average since the year 2000. 

The increases are much higher than wages, while other cost-mitigating changes like rebates for people on lower incomes have also failed to keep up with rising premiums. 

READ MORE: How Swiss residents are 'paying too much' for medicines and health insurance premiums

 

Couples with household salaries between 60,000 and 90,000 francs spend on average 14 percent of their salaries on healthcare. 

In some of the more expensive cantons such as Bern and Zurich, the amount can be higher than 20 percent. 

While lower income Swiss will be eligible for reductions and rebates, middle-income Swiss are often hit the hardest by increases in healthcare costs. 

More going into debt to pay for healthcare

The impact of the cost increases can be seen in relation to household debt for healthcare. 

At the turn of the millennium, just over a third (36 percent) of households in Switzerland had healthcare debts higher than 5000 francs

At the present time, 59 percent of households had accrued debts of over 10,000 francs for healthcare costs. 

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COST OF LIVING

Can I have a fire in my backyard or courtyard in Switzerland?

The winter months are on their way and the weather is getting colder. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, can you light a fire?

White marshmallows toast over a fire
If you want to toast marshmallows in your backyard in Switzerland this winter, first make sure it's OK. Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash

Even if you own a property, the rules for what you can and cannot do in Switzerland can be relatively restrictive. 

As we covered in the following article, laws or tenancy rules can prevent you from doing several types of activities in your own backyard, including felling trees or washing your car. 

You can also be prevented from certain activities on particular days. For instance, rules, bylaws and tenancy arrangements may prevent you from mowing your lawn or hanging out your laundry on a Sunday. 

READ MORE: What am I allowed to do in my backyard or apartment courtyard in Switzerland?

As the weather gets colder, you might be tempted to stock up the fire pit, fire basket or fire bowl with wood and set it alight. 

The rules for lighting fires are also relatively complex. What you are allowed to do will depend on your canton, your tenancy arrangement and the type of fire. 

Can I light a fire on my own property in Switzerland? 

If you’re living in one of the few Swiss houses to have a fireplace, then you are presumably allowed to use it, unless tenancy regulations prevent it at certain times. 

You are also usually allowed to have a barbecue or grill either on your balcony or in your backyard, provided the noise and smoke is not excessive. 

READ MORE: Can I have a barbecue on my balcony in Switzerland?

Whether or not you are allowed to have a fire in your backyard however will depend on the rules in your canton. 

You are generally prohibited from burning any waste in Switzerland, other than typical forest or garden waste (i.e. wood, grass, twigs, sticks and leaves). 

That however can also be restricted at certain times of the year.

In Zurich, for instance, fires in backyards are only permitted from March to October, meaning that you will need to find other ways to stay warm in the winter months in Switzerland’s most populous canton. 

Even if lighting fires is permitted, you may want to check with the rules of your rental contract to see if you are technically allowed a fire. 

What about fires in the forest or open parks? 

A campfire might also sound like a nice way to spend a winter evening, but this may be restricted or completely prohibited depending on the circumstance. 

There is no federal ban on fires in forests and other outdoor areas, provided you are not burning waste (other than garden waste etc) and you are not producing excessive emissions. 

The rules are the same on August 1st, Swiss National Day, where special bonfires usually require a permit. 

Note that there are special rules for burning old Christmas trees, which is prevented by law. 

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