Swiss parliament divided over plans to cut health insurance premiums
The Swiss parliament is in deadlock over how to combat the rising cost of health insurance. Experts have already warned that the cost of basic health insurance in Switzerland could rise by up to 5 percent when prices are renewed in September.
Being able to afford health insurance a top priority for people in Switzerland
In May, a report by Comparis found that health insurance costs are set to rise dramatically in the coming year, after the cost of healthcare spiralled upwards during the COVID pandemic. For those with extra benefits, like supplemental health insurance, premiums are expected to rise by up to 10 percent by the end of the year.
According to Watson, being able to afford insurance is one of the largest concerns for people in Switzerland. To solve the looming crisis, two political parties, the Social Democratic Party and the Middle, have created their own initiatives that will now be discussed in parliament’s latest session.
Two plans launched to relieve health insurance costs on residents
The premium relief initiative, created by the SP, calls for health insurance costs to be limited to 10 percent of the insured’s salary. Swiss cantons and the government would then compensate insurers for the large loss in revenue, which would in turn make parliament more invested in trying to reduce insurance costs.
The second proposal submitted on Tuesday says the government should get involved in helping cantons, health insurance providers and hospitals work together to make sure premiums do not rise as much in future. The Middle’s plan would also create a “cost brake” to cap the amount premiums can rise every year, although the text of the initiative leaves it up to parliament to decide how the cap would come to fruition.
Federal Council calls for radical changes to both plans
Despite acknowledging that something needed to be done to combat rising prices, the Federal Council has called for large changes and counter-proposals to both plans. For the SP, the council wants to scrap the 10 percent cap, and for the Middle, the council says that it should be up to cantons to create their own "cost brakes," not the federal government.
According to Watson, the two initiatives have divided parliament, although it predicted that the SP’s proposal, with amendments by the council, was the most likely to succeed. Parliament is due to discuss both proposals in the coming weeks, and a referendum is expected to decide the final result.