Swiss healthcare spending fell steeply during the first wave of the pandemic as non-essential surgery was postponed. However, these savings have since been wiped out, leaving spending for the year 1.16% higher than in 2019, according to RTS.
The total amount spent on healthcare in Switzerland in 2020 hit CHF 34.5 billion, CHF 400 million more than in 2019, according to Santésuisse. The figure is the amount falling under the definition of what is covered by Switzerland’s compulsory healthcare coverage known as LAMal (French) or KVG (German).
In 2020, 5.78% more was spent on laboratory analyses than in 2019. For most of the pandemic patients were required to pay for their own Covid-19 tests. Depending on the level of coverage, some were able to claim reimbursement of these from their health insurer. Because of this the cost made its way into LAMal health spending. Since last autumn the Federal government has picked up the tab for Covid-19 tests.
Costs associated with rest homes rose 6.18% in 2020, as did spending in pharmacies (+4.51%). Pharmacy spending was up partly due to increased spending on anticancer drugs. Rest homes had to cope with the pandemic.
Health insurance premiums are unlikely to fall next year. Health insurance companies have CHF 10 billion of reserves collectively. According to Christoph Kämpf of Santésuisse it is unlikely reserves will be released in favour of policy holders. The pandemic has already cost more than half a billion francs, he said. And we might face a third or fourth wave. In addition, we don’t know the costs of Long Covid or whether we might need to vaccinate against the virus every year.
Given the situation, premiums for 2022 might not rise as moderately (+0.5%) as they did in 2021.