Yesterday, the Swiss government released health insurance premiums for 2018. There are price hikes across the board, particularly in French-speaking Switzerland.
Next year, the price of standard compulsory insurance for an adult with a CHF 300 deductible will rise 4% on average. The cost varies by canton. Prices rises range from 1.6% to 6.4%.
Health premiums for children will rise by an average of 5%, more than those for adults. This is driven by a shortfall between past premiums paid and the health costs associated with children.
On average, premiums have risen 3.7% annually over the last 10 years.
In the cantons of Appenzell-Innerrhoden, Glarus, Luzern, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwytz, Uri and Zug, the average rise next year will be under 3%. In Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Valais, it will be over 5%. In all of the other cantons it will be between 3% and 5%.
Premium rises for 2018 are higher than forecast rises in costs. It is hoped the excess generated will cover a shortfall accumulated in the past. Historically certain insurers set their premiums too low, requiring insurers to strengthen their balance sheets with higher premiums next year. This has driven around a quarter of the increase.
Climbing costs, which explain the rest of the rise, are driven by an aging population, medical progress and more medical services, says the government.
An article in 20 Minutes reports on a study suggesting excessive consumption of healthcare services in French-speaking Switzerland. Inappropriate hospitalisation was one of the issues observed. Perhaps this explains part of the substantial difference in premiums between German- and French-speaking cantons.
Standard adult premiums in Lausanne, Vaud, cost between CHF 376 to CHF 765. In Appenzell they range from CHF 265 to CHF 390. At the low end an adult with a deductible of CHF 300 living in Lausanne is paying 42% more than someone living in Appenzell.
And, demographics favour Vaud. In 2015, only 16.3% of the population was over 65, compared to 18.4% in Appenzell-Innerrhoden.
You can calculate next year’s premiums by going to the government website.