Swiss Federal Council announces new plan to reduce health insurance costs
After Santésuisse predicted that a 10 percent rise in health insurance premiums was inevitable in Switzerland, the Federal Council has announced how it plans to reduce insurance costs. Measures include curbing the cost of healthcare by having hospitals, doctors and pharmacies work together more closely.
What measures are being taken to reduce healthcare costs?
According to Santésuisse, the cost of basic and supplemental health insurance is set to rise because of the rising cost of healthcare in the alpine nation. The organisation found that costs rose by more than 6 percent in 2021, with 4-percent increases predicted for 2022 and 2023.
In a press conference on September 7, Health Minister Alain Berset announced a raft of measures designed to curb the rising cost of healthcare in Switzerland. SRF noted that this is the council's second attempt at passing legislation to reduce healthcare costs - the first one was proposed in August 2019 and is yet to find a majority in parliament.
Cheaper medicine through confidential price models in Switzerland
Firstly, the government announced that it wanted people in Switzerland to have faster and cheaper access to medicines. To do this, the council has proposed a series of “confidential price models” - where pharmaceutical companies will be allowed to offer confidential discounts to insurers, to help increase competition and reduce prices, and in theory, allow consumers to save more.
Hospital, doctors and healthcare staff to be brought under one umbrella organisation
Secondly, the council proposed a so-called “network of coordinated care.” According to SRF, this means that specialist doctors, hospitals and healthcare staff would all be managed under one umbrella organisation, where healthcare providers, insurers and patients would all be coordinated and billed from a single source. They argued that this will make referrals cheaper and faster and allow treatment to be accessed more directly.
Each canton would approve one “coordination centre” and would subsume all service providers under said umbrella. While basic health insurance packages would not change for the consumer, the council hopes it will streamline the supply chain and reduce costs.
Swiss healthcare invoices to be digitalised
Finally, the Federal Council is pushing for all invoices for in and outpatient care in Switzerland to be digitalised. While it would be mandatory for all bills to be sent through the internet, the council said that consumers could still receive an invoice through the postal service if they wanted to.
Swiss Federal Council plan to face vote in parliament
Concluding the statement, the council said that while there is “huge potential” for cost savings in its plan, it will depend on how the policy is enacted by health authorities. The plan has now been submitted to parliament for discussion.