Insurance rates keep increasing

In recent years, two of Switzerland’s largest health insurance companies, CSS and Helsana, have reported significant increases in the costs of basic insurance. This has sparked concerns among experts that even higher premiums may be on the horizon. In 2024, premiums rose by an average of 8.7 percent and the previous year saw a 6.6 percent increase. Both companies incurred losses on basic insurance in 2023, with CSS reporting 181 million francs in losses and Helsana reporting 220 million francs.

The rising costs of basic insurance may be a sign of things to come rather than just a temporary effect from the corona pandemic, according to health economist Heinz Locher. He warns that the Swiss population should prepare for further significant increases in health insurance premiums in the coming years. The healthcare system in Switzerland is facing financial difficulties due to potential rising personnel costs due to a shortage of skilled workers.

There are several reasons for the increase in expenses for basic insurance, including higher costs of medication, expenses for inpatient hospital treatment, expansion of benefits catalog in basic insurance, higher demands among population for better treatments and incentives for “overtreatment” in the system. Experts suggest various measures to address these issues and prevent an imbalance in the Swiss healthcare system such as reviewing benefits catalog of basic insurance, implementing Health Technology Assessments (HTA) to check costs, using indication boards for multidisciplinary advice on medical procedures, promoting “Smarter Medicine” initiatives to avoid unnecessary treatments and adjusting franchise to increase patient contributions to medical costs. Additionally, experts recommend making service providers more responsible by utilizing flat rates per case for medical reimbursements. By taking these steps, the Swiss healthcare system may be able to control costs and prevent further increases in health insurance premiums

By Aiden Johnson

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