Compulsory Swiss health insurance premiums for 2018 will be 4.3% higher, on average, than 2017 premiums. However, there are multiple avenues through which policyholders can cut the cost of premiums. Many policyholders could potentially pay less for compulsory health insurance in the coming year than they did in 2017, the moneyland.ch analysis shows.
Savings potential of 455 francs per resident
For its analysis, moneyland.ch determined the potential health insurance savings of the entire population of Switzerland taking into account all health insurance providers, age groups, cantons and insurance models. The results show that policyholders could save a combined total of 3.8 billion francs in 2018 by using the most affordable compulsory insurance policy available to them.
Divided across the population, that total comes to a weighted average of around 455 francs in potential health insurance premium savings per resident. If policyholders were to also switch to the most affordable managed care health insurance model (telemedicine, HMO, general practitioner), they could collectively save 6.15 billion francs – or 735 francs per person throughout 2018. These numbers do not even account for the amount of money which consumers could save by choosing the optimal health insurance deductible.
Savings potential surpasses premium increase
Health insurance premiums will climb by 13 francs per person and month (156 francs over the year) in 2018, based on a weighted average. Switching to the most affordable policies can save policyholders 455 francs per person across 2018. So the potential savings are almost three times higher than the average premium increase. Many policyholders can compensate for the increase in premiums by switching health insurance policies.
Savings potential by age group
The savings potential of changing health insurers differs between age groups. Countrywide, children (0 to 18 years old) could collectively save around 320 million francs by changing insurance providers. The young adult (19 to 25 years old) age group could collectively save 264 million francs by changing insurers. Adults could collectively save an astounding 3.2 billion francs.
Differences in premiums of up to several thousand francs
While measuring total savings potential is a somewhat abstract concept, it provides an indication of the amount of money which residents could potentially save. A custom health insurance comparison is necessary to determine possible savings at an individual level. Premiums are influenced by the age and place of residence of the policyholder, and the deductible, accident coverage and insurance model used.
Example: Adults who live in the City of Zurich and use the standard insurance model with accident coverage and the lowest deductible could save 2940 francs in 2018 by switching from the most expensive health insurance policy (the standard policy from Supra) to the most affordable general practitioner policy. In Bern, an adult with the same policy could save around 4470 francs by switching to the most affordable policy. The differences between the cheapest and most expensive policies vary between regions and policyholder profiles.
Savings potential varies between cantons
On average, adult residents of the Canton of Basel-Stadt enjoy the most room for savings, with a 63-franc difference between the highest and lowest monthly premium available. The difference in the Canton of Geneva is 58 francs per month. On the other end of the scale, the difference between the highest and the lowest adult premium is just 24 francs per month in the Canton of Zug.
Young adults residing in the Canton of Valais enjoy the most room for premiums savings, with a difference of 54 francs between the highest and the lowest monthly premiums. Children (up to 18 years old) enjoy the greatest premium flexibility in the Canton of Geneva, where the difference between the highest and lowest monthly premium is 22 francs. Geneva is followed by Zurich, Appenzell-Ausserrhoden and Basel-Land where the difference comes to 21 francs per month.
More savings potential with managed care models
Policyholders can significantly reduce the cost of premiums by using managed care insurance models. These include the general practitioner (family doctor), telemedicine, HMO and pharmacy models. Managed care models do not provide the unrestricted access to medical care and specialists which is provided by the standard model. Instead, managed care policy holders are required to consult with a specific general practitioner, healthcare center, pharmacy or telemedicine service before receiving further treatment. In exchange for accepting these limitations, policyholders pay significantly lower premiums. Just moving to a different health insurance model for 2018 without changing insurance providers could collectively save policyholders 3 billion francs – 350 francs per individual.
Choosing the wrong deductible is an expensive mistake
In addition to changing insurance providers and models, a number of other opportunities to save exist. Optimizing your accident insurance coverage is one of these. Individuals who already receive accident insurance through their employer can avoid wasting money on the accident insurance coverage provided by their compulsory health insurance policy by putting the coverage on hold. Many policyholders continue to use deductible models which do not match their needs. Only two deductibles can be considered optimal for adult policyholders: The lowest deductible (300 francs) for those with high medical expenses and the highest deductible (2500 francs) for those with low medical expenses.