Statistics published on 26 April 2022 show health expenditure in Switzerland rose to CHF 9,648 (US$ 10,8001) per person in 2020, making Switzerland (probably) the second biggest per-capita healthcare spender in the world – the OECD has not yet published 2020 expenditure for the US, which is typically the world’s highest spender.
Healthcare spending rose 1% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (FSO). The rise in expenditure reflects the Covid-19 pandemic. Lower spending on visits to doctors and on outpatient treatment (CHF -0.8 billion) was offset by higher government healthcare spending (CHF +1.2 billion), mainly on hospitals.
The net 1% rise in 2020 was below the average annual rate rise in Switzerland over the last five years (+2.3%).
59% of the total CHF 9,648 per capita cost in 2020 was paid directly by individuals in the form of health insurance premiums (36%) and direct out-of-pocket payments after receiving healthcare (23%). The rest was paid for indirectly via employers (7%) and taxes (34%) – taxes were used to directly fund healthcare (22%), mainly hospitals, and to fund health insurance premium subsidies paid to residents on lower incomes.
Significantly less of the total was spent on men (44%) than on women (56%). The difference is apparent between the ages of 21 and 45 (+46%), the period in life when women are likely to have children. However, the most marked difference is between 75 and 96+(+70%), something likely related to the 4 year gap in life expectancy between men and women in Switzerland. People over the age of 75 account for 29% of Switzerland’s healthcare expenditure and women account for 63% of this.
Internationally, with the exception of the US, Switzerland leads on per capita healthcare expenditure by a wide margin – based on provisional OECD data that does not yet include some OECD nations. The next biggest spender in 2020 was Norway (US$ 7,9251), which spent 27% less than Switzerland. Germany (US$ 6,024), Austria (US$ 5,821), the UK (US$ 5,495), France (US$ 5,028) and Italy (US$ 3,229) were all well behind Switzerland (US$ 10,800). The OECD has not yet published 2020 data for the US, which is likely to retain its top spot as the biggest spender.
However, measured as a percentage of GDP, Switzerland (11.8%) trails the UK (12.8%), Germany (12.5%), France (12.4%) and probably the US – in 2019 the US spent 16.8% of GDP on healthcare compared to Switzerland’s 11.3%.
1 Using the exchange rate at the end of 2020.