Switzerland’s largest health insurers are poised to refund around CHF 300 million to policy holders, reported RTS.
Switzerland’s health insurers have reserves of roughly CHF 12 billion, around 2 times the minimum reserve requirement, and have been under pressure from the government to return the money to policy holders. This week Switzerland’s parliament decided to go one step further and force them to reduce their reserves.
Parliamentarian Lorenzo Quadri said that it is time that parliament intervened so this money is returned to those who have paid excessive premiums.
The Federal Council does not believe in being as heavy handed as parliament and the motion has not been approved by the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house. However, insurance companies have been listening and some are now planning refunds.
Insurance companies must forecast costs and factor in a buffer in case their estimates are too low. Premiums are set based on these forecasts. However, it appears forecasts have been overly generous for a while and a sizeable amount of reserves have built up.
Now Switzerland’s four largest health insurers plan to return part of their reserves to policy holders either via refunds or premium discounts in 2022, according to the newspaper Le Temps.
Assura plans to return CHF 30 million in the form of refunds to its 500,000 policy holders over the coming weeks. Others such as CSS, Helsana and Groupe Mutuel are planning premium discounts in 2022. Helsana has earmarked CHF 70 million of reserves for discounts, CSS CHF 90 million and Groupe Mutuel CHF 113 million.
The refunds and premium rebates still need to be approved by the Federal Office of Public Health, which has so far declined to comment.