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Health Most Swiss back cantonal health insurance proposal

The Swiss healthcare system is known for its excellent level of care, but is also among the most expensive in the world

(Keystone)

Two out of three Swiss residents would be in favour of a single basic health insurance scheme run by each canton, a new poll shows. Campaigners recently launched a people’s initiative aimed at giving cantons sovereignty to set insurance premiums. 

A survey by the online price comparison site bonus.ch, published on Tuesdayexternal link, revealed that 64.4% of Swiss citizens think a single basic cantonal health insurance scheme is either a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ idea. 

The Swiss healthcare system is known for its excellent level of care, but is also among the most expensive in the world. Basic health insurance in compulsory for every resident and offered by various private insurance providers. Premiums vary depending on the insurer, age and place of residence. Many people opt to buy supplementary coverage. 

However, premiums have soared ever since compulsory basic health insurance was introduced in Switzerland in 1996 and annual increases continue to spark controversy. Premiums will rise by 4% for 2018. 

Regional variation 

The latest survey revealed notable differences by canton. In German-speaking regions, which roundly rejected a proposal in 2014 for a single national public health insurance system, 51% of people agreed to the idea of giving cantons responsibility for setting basic premiums. French-speaking regions (71.4%) and Italian-speaking (65.4%) were more favourable. 

The bonus.ch questionnaire was carried out last summer before the annual publication of new health insurance premiums. 

Last month, an initiative was launched by a group of campaigners who want to set up cantonal institutions to oversee the setting and collection of basic health insurance premiums. The idea is being led by councillors Pierre-Yves Maillard (canton Vaud) and Mauro Poggia (canton Geneva), consumer groups, and associations representing families and the elderly. It is the latest effort to slow rising premiums, following the failed 2014 vote. 

swissinfo.ch with agencies/sb

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