In June 2017, Switzerland’s Federal Council announced plans to reduce the discounts offered to those willing to risk paying the first chunk of their annual medical bills. The plan included reducing the maximum premium discounts given for opting for deductibles, the amount paid by the insured before insurance kicks in.
On Tuesday, according to 20 Minutes, a commission for the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house, said it disagreed with the Federal Council’s plan.
Switzerland’s compulsory basic health insurance can be bought from a range of private insurance companies, however these companies must work within rules set by the government.
For adults and young adults everyone has a minimum annual deductible of CHF 300. Those who want to bet they won’t need the doctor can select a higher deductible of CHF 500, CHF 1,000, CHF 1,500, CHF 2,000 or CHF 2,500. In return these people get a discount. The insurer decides what it is but cannot offer more than government-set maximums. Currently the maximum discounts are 70% of the difference between the individual’s chosen deductible minus the compulsory deductible of CHF 300.
Currently, someone choosing the largest deductible of CHF 2,500 could expect a discount of up to CHF 1,540 a year ((2,500 – 300) x 70%).
Some view this as a reward for healthy living. If you keep an eye on your health it reduces the risk you’ll need the doctor and makes a high deductible a better bet.
The Federal Council’s plan would reduce the maximum annual discount for the largest deductible from CHF 1,540 to CHF 1,100 ((2,500 – 300) x 50%). Those opting for the CHF 1,500 and CHF 2,000 deductibles should also brace their pockets for a hit. The maximum saving from a CHF 2,000 deductible is set to fall from CHF 1,190 to CHF 935, and from CHF 840 to CHF 720 for the CHF 1,500 deductible.
The commission for the Council of States is against the Federal Council’s plan because it would penalise those with the highest deductibles who shoulder a larger portion of their health care costs, something it views as indefensible given ongoing increases in health expenses.
Discussions on the subject will continue when the government next meets.