Switzerland has a system of compulsory health insurance. Residents must choose an insurer and pay. Those who don’t are automatically signed up and sent a bill.
Other than shopping around, choosing a policy with an excess, a sum that must be covered out of your own pocket before the insurance kicks in, is one of the few ways to reduce your premium.
Like much insurance in Switzerland, the government sets many of the rules, including the size of these excesses and the maximum premium discount accompanying them.
Alain Berset, Switzerland’s minister of health, looking for ways to improve health system finances, came up with a plan to reduce the premium discounts for those choosing the highest excess or deductibles.
Last week his plan was rejected by parliament by 118 votes to 54. The Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house also rejected the plan.
The main criticism was that it would penalize those helping to limit health sector costs. Knowing that you’ll need to pay the first 2,500 francs of your medical bills is a good incentive to look after your health. Although some argue it also keeps people away from the doctor.
Without these changes, insurers will continue to be allowed to offer discounts of 70% of the amount of the three highest deductibles of 1,500, 2,000 and 2,500 francs. Under Berset’s plan the maximum discounts would have dropped to 60%, 55% and 50% respectively.