Parliament approves raising of health insurance excess

Parliament approves raising of health insurance excess
File photo: Jasleen Kaur
Medical costs could be poised to go up further after the lower house of parliament approved a plan by the upper house to raise the minimal deductible on compulsory health insurance.

On Thursday the National Council voted 129 votes to 54 in favour of indexing the minimal deductible – or excess – to the cost of basic health insurance, reported news agencies, meaning it will most likely go up each year, as premiums usually do.

The upper house voted in favour of the plan back in September.

Anyone living in Switzerland is obliged to take out a basic health insurance policy, called LaMal, but they may choose the amount of annual deductible on the policy – the amount of medical charges they must pay themselves before their insurance kicks in.  

The lower the deductible the higher the person's monthly insurance premium, and vice versa.

Currently, annual deductibles are fixed and range from 300 francs to 2,500 francs.

The new bill, supported by the political right, aims to make people more aware of the costs they generate by going to the doctor, and prevent them from seeking medical help for every little thing, said news agencies.

However some say the idea doesn’t take into account people’s income, and could mean some people won’t go to the doctor when they need to because it costs too much.  

The seven-person Swiss Federal Council must now put together legislation on the subject.

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