Today in Switzerland For Members

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
'Parents' / 'carers' take a walk with their child. Image by Denise Husted from Pixabay

No tax relief to offset high health insurance premiums; Zurich parents urged not to reveal their gender to children; and other Swiss news in our Wednesday roundup.


MPs refuse to allow higher tax deductions for health insurance premiums

Taxpayers will not be able to increase tax deductions for the health insurance premiums they pay, because both houses of the parliament  — that isn the Council of States and the National Council — had vetoed this proposal, Swiss media reported on Tuesday.

The proposal sought to enable single people to deduct 3,000 francs for premiums, compared to 1,700 currently. Married couples would be able  to deduct 6,000 francs, instead of 3,500 today. And reductions per child would have increased from 700 to 1,200 francs. 

The main reason for the rejection of this proposal is that, if implemented, the new reductions would lower tax revenue by 400 million francs — 315 million francs less would go to federal coffers, and 85 million less would be distributed to the cantons.

And there is more news about health insurance premiums…

Despite soaring costs, few consumers seek cheaper policies

Only one in three people change their health insurance providers to save money, a new study by Hellosafe consumer platform has found. 

Even though switching insurance carriers could lower the cost of premiums, 62.6 percent of those surveyed are still not willing to change their  current health insurance company.

The survey has not explained the reticence on the part of the insured to change their carriers, even though doing so could save them money.

Consumers have the right cancel their current policies and switch to another provider only once a year, in November.
READ ALSO: How to save money by changing your Swiss health policy


The Council of States refuses to cap Swiss roaming prices

On Tuesday, MPs rejected a motion which sought to establish a limit on the price of roaming services set by Swiss telecom operators, even though these charges are among the highest globally.

Although supporters of the move argued that reasonably priced internet connection on mobile phones is often the only possibility to purchase transport tickets, consult timetables, authenticate a credit card, or perform other essential tasks while away from home, deputies blocked the move nevertheless.

The Council of States did so because “the legal basis for capping roaming costs is lacking, it claimed

However, MPs pointed out that customers can set roaming limits on their phones themselves and receive an alert when it is reached.

READ ALSO: How you can avoid huge 'roaming' phone bills while visiting Switzerland 


In Zurich, mother and father are gender-less

A newsletter that municipal authorities send out to Zurich parents recommends that they adopt gender-neutral language when communicating with their children.

For instance, ‘father’ and ‘mother’ should no longer be identified as such, but be called ‘parents’ or ‘carers’ instead.  

According to Julia Köpfli, spokesperson for the city’s social services, the aim of the newsletter “is to encourage gender-open education."

Not everyone agrees with this approach, however.

City councillor Susanne Brunner said the newsletter’s content is “alarming.”

“Education of children should be a private matter that is none of the city administration's business,” she noted.

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