Thousands left without a Swiss health insurance card after demand soars
The health insurance association Santésuisse has revealed that tens of thousands of people in Switzerland are still waiting for their new health insurance cards for 2023. Swiss health insurance providers have blamed the delays on the sheer number of people switching basic health insurance to avoid price rises.
Tens of thousands yet to receive Swiss health insurance and AHV card
Speaking to the Tages-Anzeiger, Santésuisse spokesperson Manuel Ackermann confirmed that thousands of people are yet to receive their new health insurance cards for 2023. The cards, which also contain vital information related to social security - your AHV number, for example - are used by hospitals and healthcare providers to easily charge medical care to your insurer.
Insurance provider Helsana confirmed that around 20.000 new cards are yet to be sent through the post, leaving thousands without easy access to their insurance. This phenomenon was also reported by CSS, which said that 14.500 cards are yet to be issued. According to 20 Minuten, Concordia was the only insurer left unaffected by the problems.
Not having your health insurance card can pose major problems
For Comparis health insurance expert Felix Schneuwly, not having your insurance card in hand can be quite a problem, especially if the holder hopes to travel overseas. Speaking to 20 Minuten, he noted that many hospitals abroad "may require a credit card to ensure that the costs are covered”, if the patient doesn't have proof of health insurance.
It also poses a problem for local hospitals, as instead of simply swiping the card, Swiss doctors have to manually input the patient’s information, which can dramatically slow down operations. If you don’t have your insurance card and are planning to travel abroad or need medical care in Switzerland, Schneuwly recommended carrying a replacement certificate or proof of insurance with you, which can be issued by your insurance provider upon request.
Slow delivery of AHV cards blamed on number of people switching insurers
When asked what caused the delay, Ackermann blamed the huge amount of people that chose to switch health insurers last, especially after the government confirmed that insurance premiums would rise by 6,6 percent on average in 2023. A recent report by Comparis found that a quarter of the population chose to switch insurers for 2023, with some low-cost providers like KPT seeing their customer base grow by 40 percent in a year.
Santésuisse noted that demand for new insurance cards has increased threefold, so it is not surprising that card deliveries have been slow. All companies quoted by the Tages-Anzeiger have promised to rectify the error by the end of January.