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What you should know about Swiss health insurance comparison sites

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 6 Oct, 2022 Updated Thu 6 Oct 2022 13:20 CEST
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Premium comparators promise to help policyholders find the best rates for Switzerland’s health insurance premiums. But some sites present inaccurate information, while others provide no comparison at all.

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Health insurance premiums for the compulsory (KVG / LaMal) coverage are set to increase by 6.6 percent on average in 2023 — and in some cantons by even more.

For instance, the highest, above-national-average premiums will hit Neuchâtel (+9.5 percent), Appenzell Innerrhoden (9.3 percent), and Ticino (9.2 percent).

Residents of Zurich will see their premiums increase by 7 percent.

READ MORE: Which Swiss cantons will see the biggest increase in health insurance premiums?

The decision to switch to another carrier must be made before November 30th, so many policyholders may be looking for cheaper rates right now.

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Various Swiss sites provide what they say are “comparisons” of rates offered by different insurance carriers, so that consumers can choose whichever option is best for them.

But as a recent consumer report by RTS public broadcaster revealed, “these sites are not always reliable and the results vary from one platform to another”.

The report analysed 16 such platforms.

However, “despite their appearance, nine of the platforms in question offer no comparison. They simply collect user data, often with a view to transmitting it to a broker who can use it to offer insurance”, RTS reported.

Who are the worst ‘offenders’?

The RTS has identified three: comparativecaisse Maladie.ch, OffresCaisse Maladie.ch, and Visionna.ch.

According to the report, Groupe Mutuel insurance company “is hiding behind each of these sites”.

After the broadcast, Groupe Mutuel suspended these websites, before putting them back online in modified versions.

"We immediately demanded an overhaul of the websites concerned from our external marketing agencies, so that the content is more explicit and to avoid any confusion”, the company said, apologizing to consumers “who would have felt misinformed”.

‘Deception’

While there is no actual proof— only suspicions — that companies provide flawed comparisons for their own benefit, “if a platform, which is supposed to represent several or all insurers, represents only one, there may be deception", according to State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO), which monitors these activities.

In fact, the Groupe Mutuel is not the only carrier found to engage in this practice.

"When these sites are run by brokerage companies, we know that they sign contracts with certain health insurance companies which need, for various reasons, to attract new customers", said Yannis Papadaniel, head of the health sector at the FRC consumer federation.

"These platforms will highlight the insurance products with which the brokers have signed a contract. However, these products or these models are not necessarily those which will best meet customers’ needs", he added.

In other words, they are not only inaccurate, but also biased.

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Who can you trust?

Not all such platforms are deceptive, however.

This official government site has the latest, and accurate, information about various rates.

Also, the online comparator on the FRC site is reliable and impartial.

Two consumer platforms, Comparis and Bonus, are also helpful sources, though they do have adverts for insurance companies.

Both do, however, let consumers know that these are paid advertisements, rather than their own recommendations.

READ MORE: How people in Switzerland can save money on healthcare

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/10/06 13:20

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