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Rising health costs burden cantons' budgets

Cantonal authorities say their budgets will be hit hard by an expected 15 per cent increase in health-insurance premiums next year.

This content was published on May 29, 2009 - 10:33

While residents must pay the premiums for basic health insurance themselves, cantons are obliged to cover part of the costs for low-income households which, on average, amount to 30 per cent of all insured.

The finance director of canton Graubünden, Martin Schmid, told Swiss radio his government would have to find more funds to cover the higher premiums unless salaries also rose.

The cantons are expected to apply pressure on the federal government to give them more money to help cover the rising costs.

According to the Federal Health Office, the federal and cantonal governments paid out SFr3.4 billion ($3.15 billion) last year to help eligible families foot the bill.

The average resident paid out nearly SFr2,973 for obligatory health insurance in 2008, a rise of 3.9 per cent on the previous year.

Insurance companies say premiums have not kept up with growing costs of the Swiss health system over the past few years, which has put a hole in their reserves.

The actual premium increase for next year will be announced in the autumn.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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