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Insurance premium Swiss healthcare costs expected to rise well above inflation

Person holding packets of medicaments

The high price of drugs in Switzerland has been partially blamed for driving up medical insurance costs.

(© Keystone / Gaetan Bally)

The cost of health insurance in Switzerland is expected to rise 3% both this year and next, warns the umbrella group for health insurers, Santésuisse. This is way above the forecast rise in consumer goods prices of 0.9% for 2019.

On Monday, Santésuisseexternal link outlined the main reasons for the expected increases in health insurance policies. It predicts a 6% rise in physiotherapy treatments, the same greater demand for care for the elderly and in nursing homes and 5% extra medical diagnostics being performed in laboratories.

In addition, insurers expect costs to rise to a similar degree for hospital outpatient treatments.

“Effective countermeasures” are needed to meet these extra costs, the health insurance organisation said. And that means charging people more for their insurance. A 1% rise in compulsory health insurance policies in 2017 is not sustainable, said Santésuisse.

The body once again brought up the ongoing complaint over high cost of medicines in Switzerland. Generic drugs are causing a particular headache, being twice as expensive in the “high price island” compared to comparable markets abroad.

The cost of drugs in general is expected to rise 3% in the next two years.

Santésuisse called for a reference price index to be set up to compare the prices of drugs in Switzerland with other countries. The organisation hopes this would help ease the burden of paying exorbitant prices for medicaments in Switzerland.

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