Swiss health insurers warn price hikes are unavoidable in 2023
With the cost of healthcare in Switzerland having already risen by 7,85 percent since the start of the year, the director of the Association of Swiss Health Insurance Providers (Santésuisse) has warned that further price hikes for consumers are unavoidable when premiums are renewed for 2024.
More price rises on the horizon in Swiss health insurance
After premium prices rose by 6,6 percent last year, new data released by 20 Minuten has indicated that another significant price rise should be expected for both basic and supplemental health insurance in Switzerland. Santésuisse director Verena Nold told the newspaper that while they are unable to make an accurate estimate, "We, unfortunately, cannot avoid an above-average premium increase" when premiums are renewed for 2024.
According to the newspaper, the cost of healthcare in Switzerland has risen by 7,85 percent since the start of the year, with doctors, hospitals and other medical services submitting 19,8 billion francs worth of charges in the first half of 2023. “The figures for the first quarter of 2023 made it clear that healthcare costs would continue to rise. Normally, however, the increase in costs tends to flatten out in the second quarter - this year it has increased. This surprises and worries me greatly,” Nold explained.
Healthcare costs rise across all Swiss cantons
Healthcare costs have increased the most in Cantons Uri and Bern, rising by 13,33 and 10,53 percent respectively since the start of the year. While all Swiss cantons have seen healthcare costs rise, the smallest increases (3,5 percent) were recorded in Obwalden and Nidwalden.
20 Minuten explained that the biggest price rises were for inpatient stays in hospitals, with costs rising by 12,58 percent compared to the start of the year. The cost of physiotherapy has also risen by 10,2 percent since the end of 2022.
Immigration and life expectancy to blame for higher prices
Speaking to the newspaper, Swiss Physiotherapy Association spokesperson Florian Kurz said the price rises have been caused by a combination of immigration and high life expectancy. "Demand has increased, for example, due to demographic development, increased multi-morbidity that comes with increasing life expectancy, the increasing reduction in the length of hospitalisation and the increase in chronic diseases," he noted.
In concluding her statement, Nold called on the government and cantons to help reduce insurance premiums by cutting the cost of medicine and reforming how many practitioners are active in each region. Any rise in health insurance premiums, predicted to be inevitable by Nold, will be announced by the President of Switzerland and Health Minister Alain Berset in September of this year.