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Health-insurance costs set to rise again

Health-insurance premiums continue to rise Keystone

Health-insurance premiums will increase by an average of 5.6 per cent next year, mainly due to significantly higher costs in the hospital sector.

The Federal Health Office said on Tuesday that the rise would bring the national average monthly premium for obligatory health cover to SFr306 ($236) per adult.

There are significant differences in the cost of insurance within each canton from one provider to another. The Health Office recommends that individuals shop around for cover.

Geneva remains the most expensive canton with an average monthly premium of SFr426. The increases range from 3.6 per cent in Geneva to 9.9 per cent in Bern.

The increase for young adults is higher than for adults at 7.1 per cent, while children’s premiums will go up by 3.5 per cent.

Higher than 2005

Overall, the average premium hike for 2006 is higher than it was for 2005 (3.7 per cent).

But the umbrella organisation of Swiss health insurers, santésuisse, said the rise was in line with expectations.

Spokesman Peter Marbet said costs could only be brought down in future by reforming the way hospitals are financed.

Insurers estimate costs of SFr21.7 million in 2006 for providing the basic insurance package nationwide – an increase of SFr1.3 million. One third of this increase comes from hospital costs.

Switzerland’s health system is the second most expensive in the world.

The current health-insurance law, which has been in existence for ten years, was partly devised to control costs but health inflation has gathered pace over the past ten years.

swissinfo with agencies

The increase in health-insurance premiums for 2006 is 5.6% for adults, 7.1% for young people from 19 to 25 and 3.5% for children.

The current health-insurance law, which came into force in 1996, changed the basis of health cover. Basic insurance became obligatory in a community-rated system where flat premiums were set regardless of age, sex and state of health.

In ten years, premiums have climbed 67.6%.

Increase in Swiss health-insurance premiums:

3.7% in 2005
4.3% in 2004
9.6% in 2003
9.7% in 2002
5.5% in 2001
3.8% in 2000

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR