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Managed care bill wins approval in parliament

Parliament has approved a proposal to encourage patients to limit their choice of doctors and other healthcare service providers as part of cost-cutting reforms.

The House of Representatives on Thursday followed the Senate in agreeing a compromise following seven years of discussions.

Under the reform, patients’ contributions towards medical bills will be increased from ten to 15 per cent for those who still insist on having a free choice of doctors, as is possible under the present system.

Managed care would mean patients having access to a certain network of doctors through their family doctors. It is argued that this would keep health costs down.


The maximum limit of annual excess payments is to be lowered to SFr500 ($546) from SFr700 for insured people prepared to accept restrictions.

However, there is no legal obligation for health insurers to offer access to a network of outpatient services.

Currently only about ten per cent of the population uses managed care insurance coverage, but Interior Minister Didier Burkhalter, whose portfolio includes health matters, hopes to increase the figure to 60 per cent.

The Swiss Medical Association and centre-left political parties have announced they are considering challenging the amendment with a nationwide vote, arguing the reform is biased and creates additional costs for patients.

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