Swiss healthcare is typically ranked the world’s second most expensive, as a percentage of GDP, after the US.
In Switzerland, compulsory health insurance premiums cover 37% of healthcare costs. Much of the rest is covered by tax payers and non-reimbursable out-of-pocket payments by individuals.
As part of a plan to reduce costs, this week, the health insurer Groupe Mutuel, launched a new lower cost plan which requires its clients to go to the pharmacy for help before calling their doctor or a medical specialist, according to Le Matin Dimanche and reported in Le Temps.
Patients on the plan are required to go a designated pharmacy before going to a doctor. A pharmacist decides whether a doctor’s appointment is required. Pharmacists do not charge for consultations, reducing costs.
Certain things, such as emergency treatment, gynecology, pediatrics and chronic conditions are exempted.
The system, which was tested between 2012 and 2014, found that 73% of cases could be dealt with by the pharmacist.
Pharmacies welcome the shift because it has the potential to boost their sales. Many doctors are supportive too because they have more patient demand than they can cope with.
A recent law increasing the number of drugs that can be obtained from pharmacies without a prescription from a doctor, which came into force on 1 January 2019, is one element supporting this new model.