Curbing the Rising Tide: Navigating Health Insurance Premiums in Switzerland
Understanding the Surge in Health Insurance Premiums
Health insurance premiums in Switzerland have been on an upward trajectory over the past few years. Just a year ago, it was announced that the average health insurance premium would increase by 6.6%. However, the actual increase turned out to be just over 5% as many policyholders decided to switch insurance providers or choose more affordable models in response to this spike in premiums.
The escalating cost of compulsory health insurance has become a major concern for many Swiss citizens. An increase in healthcare costs due to the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with a ‘catch-up effect’ of non-essential operations postponed during the pandemic have been identified as the primary causes of this leap. The aging population and advances in medical technology, which have led to more expensive treatments and drugs, have also contributed to the rise in premiums.
Five Effective Tips to Save on Premiums
Despite the grim outlook, there are strategies that can be employed to save several hundred Swiss francs on health insurance premiums every year. Here are five tips:
1. Select a Saving Model
Choosing a saving model that restricts your freedom of physician choice can result in higher discounts. Managed care models, telephone models, general practitioners, or a group practice (HMO) can be selected as your first port of call. However, premiums will be significantly higher if free physician choice is opted for.
2. Choose a Suitable Deductible
Increasing your deductible from 300 to 500 to 2500 Swiss francs can result in savings of several hundred francs annually. However, it’s crucial to have the deductible amount plus the maximum possible retention of 700 Swiss francs saved. A high deductible is usually only worthwhile for healthy individuals. For small children, no deductibles should be chosen as they are often ill.
3. Clarify Accident Coverage
If you work more than eight hours per week for the same employer, you are automatically insured against accidents. Therefore, this coverage can be excluded in basic insurance.
4. Pay Premiums in Advance
Paying your premiums annually or semi-annually can result in up to a two percent discount on the invoice amount, depending on the insurance company. However, not all insurers offer this option.
5. Check Eligibility for Premium Reduction
Individuals with low income are entitled to premium reductions from their canton of residence. Information on this can be obtained from social services or cantonal compensation offices.
Additional Advice to Manage Premiums
Beyond the tips mentioned above, it’s crucial to be punctual with payments and consider additional insurance. Don’t hesitate to switch insurers if it can save money. Every insurer must accept you into basic insurance and every insurer must reimburse the same benefits by law. The notice of termination should arrive at the current insurer by November 30th.
However, if you have received insurance approval for an important treatment, you should refrain from switching this year. It is not guaranteed that the new insurance will share the assessment for cost approval. Reviewing your additional insurance is also worthwhile. For additional insurance, different rules apply. The termination letter must have been sent by September 30th.
In the area of additional insurance, health insurers can decide whether to accept a patient or not. It’s therefore worthwhile to clarify this in advance and only cancel the additional insurance when you are newly insured. In case of doubt, basic insurance covers everything important, additional insurance is not necessary.
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