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Households bear burden of soaring health costs

Soaring health costs are hitting households hardest Keystone

Swiss households are footing the lion's share of the bill for the country's rising health costs. A study shows that roughly two-thirds of health costs are funded by private households, with the government paying just 15 per cent.

This content was published on July 17, 2000 - 15:31

The study, which appeared in the statistical journal "The public health system in Switzerland", analysed health expenditure for 1997. In that year, health costs reached a total of SFr38 billion, a rise of nearly three per cent compared to 1996.

The figures suggest that the public is footing the bill for as much as 70 per cent of Switzerland's total health care bill. Households pay 23.8 per cent directly, and their premiums fund most of the health insurance companies' contributions, which accounted for 48.3 per cent.

The remainder is covered by the government, social insurance contributions and people living abroad who have Swiss health insurance.

The new data comes amid increasing controversy in Switzerland over the soaring cost of health care. In 1998 total expenditure rose a massive 6.7 per cent compared to the year before. The effect was to swell average premiums by SFr114 to SFr1,935 for that year.

Health insurance is compulsory, leaving consumers with no choice but to pay up.

Hospital costs, which account for roughly half of the health care bill, are also soaring. From 1993 to 1997 they rose by nearly 15 per cent.

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