Health insurance: Swiss do not believe that politicians can control the rise in premiums

The majority of Swiss feel aggrieved – they consider their health care politicians incapable.

It was no great surprise when an average rise of 4.9 percent in health insurance premiums was announced at the end of September. Premiums have been heading in only one direction for years. Upwards. Policy-makers could curb this rise. However, a Comparis survey has revealed that 62 percent of all Swiss consider their politicians incapable of making the health care system cheaper and more efficient. In addition, the respondents are convinced that the pharmaceutical industry and "imaginary invalids" are the biggest cost drivers.

Those who participated in a large-scale Comparis survey conducted in early September do not believe that policy-makers will get a grip on the spiralling cost increases and constant rise in health insurance premiums any time soon. Specifically, 62 percent of the respondents do not trust politicians to reform the health care system and to curb the rise in costs. The health insurance premiums for 2018, as announced on 28 September, show that this view is not without merit: They will rise once again next year – this time by an average of 4.9 percent.

French-speaking Swiss least pessimistic, people of Ticino disillusioned

While the majority of the population, regardless of region, consider politicians to be incapable of reforming the system, those in French-speaking Switzerland are the least pessimistic. "Only" 52 percent of them believe that policy-makers are unable to bring about an improvement. Among German speakers the figure is 65 percent, while the inhabitants of Ticino are completely disillusioned: Just under 70 percent of them have lost faith in the health care politicians.

The biggest cost drivers: pharmaceutical industry and "imaginary invalids"

Responsibility for the spiralling cost increases in health care is assigned by the respondents to several players. They chiefly blame patients who use health services for every little issue they have (60 percent), the pharmaceutical industry (58 percent), health insurance providers (42 percent), doctors and hospitals (37 percent) and people who do not look after their health (24 percent).

Another reason for 17 percent of the respondents is the ever-tighter health care network, which induces people to visit a doctor even for minor matters.

Two thirds of all Swiss against ban on parallel imports

When it comes to ideas about how to curb the rise in health care costs, the Swiss population has clear suggestions. 64 percent of the respondents advocate the licensing of parallel imports of medications in order to benefit from cheaper prices abroad.

54 percent doubt the integrity of doctors and call for strict control of their bills, and 27 percent would like treatment and convalescence abroad to be an option. Other demands include an increase in the minimum deductible of 300 francs (17 percent), a limit on the catalogue of benefits (13 percent) and the introduction of a higher coinsurance (12 percent).

80 percent do not want expensive original preparations and are satisfied with generic drugs

To help curb health care costs, 80 percent of all Swiss people are willing to forego expensive original preparations and use cheaper generic medications instead – if they are then rewarded in the form of premium discounts. Half of the respondents would regard a discount of up to 15 percent as appropriate, while 40 percent would require a premium reduction of 15 to 30 percent.

One in two is also open to Telmed solutions that prescribe a telephone consultation prior to a visit to the doctor or pharmacy if this means that they can benefit from a lower premium in return.

Anyone wishing to save money should optimise their health insurance premium for 2018. You still have until the end of November to do so. The easiest way is to compare the various offers here: