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Health premiums set to fall in some regions

Several Swiss health insurance companies have indicated they will lower their premiums next year in some cantons, although two are doing it against their will.

The market leader, Helsana, confirmed a newspaper report on Saturday that premiums would go down by two to three per cent next year in the cantons of Vaud, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Zurich, Schaffhausen and Ticino, after government pressure.

Groupe Mutuel, which is the leader in the western part of Switzerland, said it would lower premiums by around one per cent in Geneva and stabilise or lower them in the Lausanne region.

Spokesman Yves Seydoux said Groupe Mutuel had been left no choice by the government, which has been trying to reduce health costs in recent years.

“We had to take it or leave it,” he commented, adding there would have to be increases in 2010. Neither of the two companies is to appeal against the decision, although Helsana criticised the “pressure” from the authorities.

The Federal Health Office is due to announce more details about next year’s health insurance premiums on Friday.

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR