Health insurance premiums to increase, but less steeply

The increase in recent years is mainly due to increased use of healthcare services. Keystone

The cost of compulsory health insurance premiums in Switzerland is expected to increase by an average of 1.2% next year.  

This content was published on September 24, 2018 - 10:54

On Monday, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced that the estimates for 2019 are expected to vary between -1.5% to +3.6% depending on the canton. 

And although precise comparisons with previous years are difficult to arrive at – FOPH has changed the way it calculates the numbers – premiums are expected to increase by 1.2% on average, lower than in recent years. For adults over 26, the average increase is 2.4% adding up to CHF372.3 ($388.1) per month. 

Since 2008, the average premium has increased by 3.5% per year (3.9% per year since the introduction of compulsory health insurance in 1996). 

According to the Home Affairs Minister Alain Berset, the increase is modest because premiums in 2018 were higher than costs to allow insurers to build up reserves. With the reserves replenished, there is no longer the same need to raise premiums as before. The increase for 2019 is lower than the average for the past 20 years, said Berset on Monday.

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In six cantons (AI, AR, FR, GL, UR, ZG), the average premium adjustments will be less than 0.5%, while in four others (JU, NE, TI, VS), they will exceed 2%. In the remaining 16 cantons the increase will be between 0.5 and 2%. The FOPH has approved all premiums for one year. 

In addition, the average premium for young adults aged 19 to 25 will decrease because parliament has decided to reduce the cost burden for this age group. This measure will be valid from 2019, with the average premium for young adults at CHF274.10, 15.6% lower than last year. 

The rebate will be financed by an increase in costs for those over 25, whose premiums will increase slightly (by 2.4%, or CHF8.90). The average premium for children is CHF100.90, an increase of 2.4% compared to the previous year. 

Due to demographic changes and medical and technical advances, health costs and therefore health insurance premiums continue to rise in Switzerland. The evolution in recent years is mainly due to increased use of healthcare services, the extent of which cannot be explained from a medical point of view. 

The evolution of premiums is no longer illustrated by using a standard premium but an average. The standard premium used until now was only valid for adults with a deductible of CHF300 and accident coverage. However, this premium is now only chosen by only around 20% of adults and is therefore no longer representative.

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