Insurance News

Deductible Choices Come Under Fire

January 4, 2015 - Benjamin Manz

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is reviewing the deductible system currently being used for Swiss obligatory health insurance policies.

Presently, six different deductible tiers are available to adult policyholders: 300, 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, and 2500 francs. The rule of thumb is that the higher the deductible, the lower the health insurance premiums.

However, only two of the deductible tiers make sense in most cases: 2500 francs (in the case of low healthcare expenses, or none at all) and 300 francs (in the case of high healthcare expenses). Carefully choosing the right deductible is one of the most useful health insurance saving tips for consumers.

The highest deductible tier of 2,500 francs was introduced by former minister of health Pascal Couchepin. But according to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the higher deductible tiers are being called into question by the current minister of health and head of the FOPH, Alain Berset.

Logic: The high deductible tiers contribute to a decline in solidarity. Studies show that the higher deductible tiers are more often chosen by Swiss citizens than non-citizens, by men more often than women, and are most popular among young, well-educated and financially better off individuals.

According to the FOPH, health insurance providers “miss out” on 800 to 900 million francs per year by allowing consumers to choose the 2000-franc (260,000 policyholders) and 2500-franc (1.14 million policyholders) deductibles.

The independent adjustment of the number and size of deductibles falls within the jurisdiction of the Federal Council. No adjustment is planned for 2015. If a change in deductibles is implemented at all, it would come into effect no sooner than 2016, as confirmed to by the FOPH.

More on this topic:
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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.