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COST OF LIVING

‘Worrying’: Swiss health insurers warn of significant price increases

The combined impact of the Covid pandemic and a variety of other factors could see a dramatic increase in Swiss health insurance premiums, industry observers have forecast.

Swiss health insurers have warned of significant price increases in the coming years due to a variety of factors. Image: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash
Swiss health insurers have warned of significant price increases in the coming years due to a variety of factors. Image: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

Swiss health insurance organisation Santésuisse has warned of a “worrying” increase of health insurance premiums due to the Covid pandemic. 

Santésuisse put the increase a 5.1 percent per person on average in Switzerland, although this could be higher as it only takes part of the underlying costs into consideration.  

The reason for the likely increase is higher expenditure on physiotherapy, hospital care and outpatient medical services. 

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about health insurance in Switzerland

The costs do not however take into account Covid vaccinations, which cost health insurers and estimated 265 million in 2021. 

On the whole Santésuisse estimates the Covid pandemic cost Swiss insurers one billion euros so far. 

Santésuisse called for a range of reforms to reduce costs and ensure that not so many are passed onto consumers. 

One is to establish a system which rewards efficiency and cost-effectiveness in service delivery, thereby encouraging doctors, hospitals and pharmacies to be more expedient. 

Drug prices are also an issue in Switzerland, where patients often pay much more than those in neighbouring European countries. 

“With regular comparisons of drug prices and an adjustment to the price level in European comparison countries, taking into account all discounts, a large savings potential could be exploited,” Santésuisse said in a statement. 

Another is to set up a parliamentary commission to review cost trends and make recommendations. 

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LIVING IN SWITZERLAND

How Switzerland’s Covid switch to card has made things more expensive

Finally, you can now pay in Switzerland with card at plenty of shops and retailers, although the change is placing upward pressure on costs of living.

How Switzerland’s Covid switch to card has made things more expensive

For many, one of the few silver linings of the Covid pandemic was a final push in the direction of card payments. 

Unlike just two years ago, it is now possible to pay with cards rather than cash at a wide array of shops, stores and businesses all across the country. 

However, what we’ve gained in terms of convenience we may be paying for – quite literally. 

READ MORE: How the cost of living will change in Switzerland in 2022

Prices of everyday items are going up due to the added costs for businesses of setting up card payment systems, along with the costs which are levied on each transaction. 

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How much are things going up by?

According to a study by Switzerland’s Watson news organisation, the average card transaction costs the company 11 cents. 

The banks charge a fixed rate of ten cents per transaction, along with a fee which averages out at 0.7 cents for each transaction. 

READ MORE: Could Covid end the Swiss love affair with cash?

While the costs of each transaction have actually decreased since the start of the pandemic – pre-pandemic transactions cost roughly 28 cents each – the costs are still difficult for businesses to bear. 

With other costs on the rise due to inflation, the Covid pandemic and climate change leading to unpredictable crop yields over the past year, it has become even more difficult for businesses to absorb these costs. 

https://www.watson.ch/wirtschaft/schweiz/719657169-neue-bezahlgewohnheiten-wegen-corona-darum-wird-das-gipfeli-teurer

As a result, they are being passed on to the consumer. 

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