‘Worrying’: Swiss health insurers warn of significant price increases

The combined impact of the Covid pandemic and a variety of other factors could see a dramatic increase in Swiss health insurance premiums, industry observers have forecast.

Swiss health insurers have warned of significant price increases in the coming years due to a variety of factors. Image: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash
Swiss health insurers have warned of significant price increases in the coming years due to a variety of factors. Image: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

Swiss health insurance organisation Santésuisse has warned of a “worrying” increase of health insurance premiums due to the Covid pandemic. 

Santésuisse put the increase a 5.1 percent per person on average in Switzerland, although this could be higher as it only takes part of the underlying costs into consideration.  

The reason for the likely increase is higher expenditure on physiotherapy, hospital care and outpatient medical services. 

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about health insurance in Switzerland

The costs do not however take into account Covid vaccinations, which cost health insurers and estimated 265 million in 2021. 

On the whole Santésuisse estimates the Covid pandemic cost Swiss insurers one billion euros so far. 

Santésuisse called for a range of reforms to reduce costs and ensure that not so many are passed onto consumers. 

One is to establish a system which rewards efficiency and cost-effectiveness in service delivery, thereby encouraging doctors, hospitals and pharmacies to be more expedient. 

Drug prices are also an issue in Switzerland, where patients often pay much more than those in neighbouring European countries. 

“With regular comparisons of drug prices and an adjustment to the price level in European comparison countries, taking into account all discounts, a large savings potential could be exploited,” Santésuisse said in a statement. 

Another is to set up a parliamentary commission to review cost trends and make recommendations. 

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Switzerland faces 20 percent increase in electricity costs

The combined impacts of inflation, the war in Ukraine and the lingering influence of the Covid pandemic have combined to put upwards pressure on electricity costs in Switzerland.

Switzerland faces 20 percent increase in electricity costs

From 2023, customers can be expected to pay an additional 20 percent on their average electricity costs across Switzerland. 

This figure is determined on the basis of estimates from the Federal Electricity Commission (Elcom), which looked at the expected price development at 172 energy companies. 

According to Swiss tabloid Blick, this corresponds to an 180-franc increase for the average Swiss home. 

On the whole, energy tariffs are set to see an increase by 47 percent, although as tariffs only make up around 40 percent of electricity costs, the subsequent increase will be approximately 20 percent. 

EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland’s cost of living isn’t as high as you think

According to Credit Suisse, the impact could be much higher in certain apartments where the energy is more reliant on fossil fuel sources. There, prices could rise by up to 500 francs per annum. 

Power shortage 

Elcom is concerned Switzerland could see a power shortage in the coming winter. 

Switzerland is heavily reliant on power from its neighbours, particularly France, but can expect far less energy from French nuclear reactors in the future. 

Switzerland will therefore need to turn to Germany, Italy and Austria for energy, however these markets are also subject too cost increases and demand pressures, much of which comes from the war in Ukraine. 

A greater percentage of energy in these markets comes from fossil fuels, which also means that Switzerland will have a higher carbon footprint. 

In order to beat shortages, Switzerland wants to produce a greater degree of hydroelectric and nuclear power. 

The Social Democrats have also put out a proposal to ask citizens to limit heating in their homes to 20 percent.