Swiss health insurers warn of premium hike in 2020

Swiss health insurers warn of premium hike in 2020
Generic medicines cost twice as much in Switzerland as overseas. File photo: Depositphotos
Switzerland’s health insurance premiums are set to rise three percent in 2020, the industry association of health insurers Santésuisse has warned.

In a statement on Tuesday, Santésuisse said that after lower than usual rises of just one percent in 2018 and 1.7 percent in 2017, the “respite” could now be over.

It said that rising health care costs in sectors including physiotherapy, laboratory diagnostics and outpatient care meant health care premiums could shoot up as much as three percent next year. 

Read also: What you need to know before you take out Swiss health insurance

Santésuisse said the government needed to take action to fight spiralling costs in the national health care system.

The association made special mention of the need for measures to bring down the costs of medications in Switzerland.

It also noted that generic medicines cost twice as much in Switzerland as overseas and called on patients with prescriptions to be allowed to buy medications overseas and then be refunded by insurers.

Years of premium increases

The news of further rises in health insurance premiums will likely not be welcomed by people in Switzerland.

Almost everyone in the country needs to take out compulsory basic health insurance with around a third of the country’s healthcare costs funded through this compulsory system.

However, the cost of this obligatory insurance has shot up twice as fast as GDP and wages since 1996, causing plenty of anger.

Both the Socialists and the Christian Democrats have said they plan to launch initiatives aimed at bringing down healthcare costs and premiums.

The Socialist plan would see health insurance contributions capped at 10 percent of household income. Households paying more than this would receive subsidies. This system has already been introduced in the canton of Vaud.

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