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Insurance News

Swiss Health Insurance Premiums: Where You Live Makes All the Difference

October 9, 2019 - Felix Oeschger

Independent online comparison service moneyland.ch compared premiums for compulsory health insurance in 2020 across each of Switzerland’s premium regions. The results of the study show that the lowest premiums in some regions are up to twice as high as those in other regions.

Swiss compulsory health insurance premiums vary depending on where in Switzerland policyholders live. Switzerland is divided into 42 premium regions, and insurance providers set premiums for each region individually. The cantons of Zurich, St. Gallen, Luzern, Grisons and Bern are each divided into three premium regions. The cantons of Valais, Vaud, Ticino, Schaffhausen, Fribourg and Basel-Landschaft are each divided into two premium regions. All other cantons have just one premium region. All health insurance providers use identical premium regions.

Independent online comparison service moneyland.ch analyzed premium data from all health insurance providers for each of the 42 premium regions. For its study, moneyland.ch compared the most affordable health insurance offer for each premium region against those of all other premium regions. The results show massive differences in the premiums which residents pay depending on where they live. “Where you live can make a 2000-franc-per-year difference in the health insurance premiums you have to pay,” says moneyland.ch insurance expert Daniel Dreier.

Basel-Stadt the most expensive, Appenzell Innerrhoden the cheapest

In Appenzell Innerrhoden, monthly premiums for the most affordable managed care model for adult residents with a 300-franc deductible and no accident insurance start at 265.90 Swiss francs. That is the lowest premium charged anywhere in Switzerland for that insurance in the 2020 insurance year. Basel-Stadt sits on the other end of the scale. The lowest monthly premium for the same profile is 452.60 francs per month.

That means the lowest possible premium for adults in Basel-Stadt is 186.70 francs higher than the lowest possible premium in Appenzell Innerrhoden – assuming a 300-franc deductible. “An adult residing in Basel has to pay more than 70 percent more for the same compulsory health insurance than an adult residing in Appenzell Innerrhoden,” explains moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz.

The lowest premium for health insurance with the highest deductible of 2500 francs is also offered in Appenzell Innerrhoden. The most affordable compulsory health insurance with a 2500-franc deductible for an adult (without accident insurance) costs 167.30 francs per month.

The most affordable premium in Basel-Stadt for the same insurance is 333.30 francs per month. That is around twice as high as the lowest premium in Appenzell Innerrhoden. It adds up to a difference of nearly 2000 francs per year. Similar differences apply to premiums for young adults.

Major differences between neighboring municipalities

 “Differences in premiums are particularly visible where neighboring municipalities fall into different premium regions,” states Benjamin Manz.

One example of this discrepancy is found in the Canton of Zurich. The municipality of Oberengstringen falls under the Zurich 3 premium region. Adult residents can get compulsory health insurance with a 2500-franc deductible for as little as 200 francs per month in 2020 (the Assura PharMed policy without accident insurance).

Frankenthal, which directly neighbors Oberengstringen, falls under the Zurich 1 premium region. Zurich 1 is the most expensive of Zurich’s three premium regions. Adult residents of Frankenthal have to pay a minimum of 264.90 francs per month for the exact same insurance (Assura PharMed). In this case, people living just several meters away from each other pay 780 francs more or less than their neighbors each year.

Similar examples can be found in Canton Bern, which is divided into three premium regions. The lowest available premium for adults with a 2500-franc deductible in 2020 is 228.90 in the Bern 3 premium region and 293.40 in the Bern 1 premium region. That is a markup of 774 francs per year – more than 28 percent.

The cheapest and most expensive health insurance providers for adults

The analysis of compulsory health insurance premiums across all 42 premium regions also revealed which insurance companies charge the lowest and the highest premiums across different premium regions.

For adults above the age of 26 with a 300-franc deductible and no accident insurance: Assura charges the lowest premiums in 15 premium regions. It is followed by Swica which charges the lowest premiums for this profile in 8 premium regions. Progrès charges the lowest premiums in 7 premium regions and Helsana is the most affordable in 5 premium regions.

For adults above the age of 26 with a 2500-franc deductible and no accident insurance: Assura charges the lowest premiums in 16 premium regions. It is followed by Progrès (cheapest in 8 premium regions), Atupri (7 premium regions) and Helsana (4 premium regions).

On the other end of the scale is Kolping, a subsidiary of Sympany. It charges the highest premiums in 16 premium regions.

The cheapest and most expensive health insurance providers for young adults

Interestingly, the health insurance landscape for young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 looks very different. Young adults with a 300-franc deductible and not accidents insurance pay the lowest premiums with Sanitas in 10 premium regions. Sanitas is followed by Atupri (cheapest in 9 premium regions), Agrisano and Assura (each the cheapest in 6 premium regions) and Sanagate (5 premium regions).

The highest possible deductible (2500 francs) is the optimal deductible for the majority of young adults because young adults are less likely to need expensive medical care. Sanitas offers the cheapest health insurance for this deductible in 25 premium regions. It is followed by Agrisano (cheapest in 6 premium regions), Atupri (4 premium regions) and Sanagate (4 premium regions).

Kolping charges the highest premiums in 12 premium regions, followed by Ingenbohl (most expensive in 10 premium regions).

Cheapest and most expensive health insurance providers for children

For children up to the age of 18 with a 0-franc deductible: Assura charges the lowest premiums in 16 premium regions, followed by Agrisano (8 premium regions).

For children up to the age of 18 with the highest possible deductible of 600 francs: Agrisano charges the lowest available premiums in 15 premium regions, followed by Assura (14 premium regions).

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Expert Felix Oeschger
Felix Oeschger is an analyst and expert at moneyland.ch. He is responsible for several core topics.