Spokesperson Verena Nold from Santesuisse, an organisation representing many of Switzerland’s health insurers, told Swiss public radio last Friday that the organisation expects Swiss health insurance premiums to go up by a similar percentage in 2017 as they have in recent years. According to Ms Nold, people are going to the doctor more often, and visits are costing more. These two trends are driving insurance premiums higher.
Health insurers are required to send their planned premiums for 2017 to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) for their approval by the end of July. After looking at these premiums, projected costs, and comparisons between insurers, average premiums for next year are announced by the federal council in autumn.
Every year, in the run up to the announcement, various premium estimates surface. The estimates from Santesuisse are in line with those made recently by Vaud’s minister of health, Pierre-Yves Maillard, who said “The same ingredients seem to have come together for 2017. The rise could be higher than 2016”, which was an average of 4.2%. “Insurers’ accounts are not good, and health costs rose 3.8% in 2015” he added.
In 2015, when announcing 2016 premiums, federal health minister Alain Berset, warned that neither health costs nor premiums would fall over the next few years due to medical progress, more expensive treatments, and an increase in the average age, as the post war baby-boom generation reaches retirement.
Because Swiss salaries are growing at a slower pace than health insurance premiums, the burden on salary earners will only grow.