Compulsory Swiss health insurance premiums are on average set to fall by 0.2% in 2022, announced the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on 28 September 2021. This is the first time since 2008 that average premiums have fallen.
Basic health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland and governed by federal law called LAMal. Insurers must offer basic insurance to everyone who applies regardless of their health or habits. Anyone failing to insure will have the choice of insurer made for them by the authorities and receive a bill.
Swiss healthcare is costly. In 2018, Switzerland had the world’s second most costly healthcare (12.2% of GDP) trailing only the United States (16.9%) on share of national income spent on health. The OECD average was 8.8%.
In a 2017 comparison the OECD identified Swiss healthcare as the worst value for money. Prices for the same set of goods and services were 39% higher in Switzerland than in the US and nearly double (+93%) the OECD average – see page 34 of study.
The Swiss government is well aware of the problem and has been trying to reduce the cost of healthcare for many years. Alain Berset, Switzerland’s health minister, told RTS that the average premium reduction in 2022, while positive, is not enough.
In some cases recent premium reductions are largely down to decisions to reduce insurance company reserves rather than a result of a decline in underlying costs. Across the industry reserves are set to drop by 1.2% of total premiums, a percentage higher than the 0.2% average premium reduction.
In 2022, the average monthly premium will be CHF 315.30, 0.2% lower than the 2021 average. However, not everyone should bank on a saving money on health insurance in 2022.
Across Switzerland’s 26 cantons, 14 will see average premiums drop while 12 will see them rise – data here.
The risers include AG (+0.3%), AI (+0.7%), AR (+0.6%), GL (+1.1%), LU (+0.6%), NW (+0.9%), OW (+1.4%), SG (+0.2%), SO (+0.4%), TG (+0.6%) and UR (+0.5%).
Those with declines include BE (-0.2), BL (-0.6), BS (-2.1), FR (-0.2), GE (-1.5), GR (-0.9), JU (-0.2), NE (-0.1), SZ (-0.3), TI (-0.1), VD (-0.1), VS (-0.8), ZG (-0.2) and ZH (-0.2).
The cantons with the costliest average monthly premiums in 2022 include BS (CHF 409.80), GE (CHF 399.90), TI (CHF 362.70), NE (CHF 354.30) and VD (CHF 349.90). The cheapest are AI (CHF 214.80), UR (243.80), ZG (CHF 254.70), NW (CHF 257.00) and OW (258.80). Residents of ZH can expect to pay CHF 305.60 per month on average – data here.
Shifting from the urban canton of Basel-City to the rural one of Appenzell Innerrhoden could save an adult CHF 2,340 across a year in health insurance premiums on average.
In addition, average falls in cantons mask rises within them. For example, many in Vaud, which will see a fall in average premiums of 0.1%, will face rising premiums next year. For example, an adult residing in Vaud insured with Assura with a CHF 2,500 deductible will face a premium rise of 2.1%.
To see whether your premiums will rise next year, take a deep breath and click here. This is the FOPH’s official calculator. It is independent and free of advertising.