Insurance News

Swiss Mandatory Health Insurance: Residents Could Save 3.2 Billion Francs

November 2, 2021 - Felix Oeschger

Although premiums will go down slightly in 2022, residents of Switzerland could still save an average of 368 francs per person over the course of the coming year by changing health insurance providers. If the whole population of Switzerland were to move the cheapest insurance provider, residents would collectively save 3.2 billion francs.

Mandatory health insurance premiums will hardly change in the coming year. According to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), premiums as a whole will sink by 0.2 percent. But the average calculated by the FOPH is of secondary importance when it comes to effective savings for individual residents. The potential savings which individuals could achieve by moving to a cheaper insurance provider and health insurance model are far more significant.

Big savings potential from insurance migration

Switzerland’s independent online comparison service estimated the savings potential for all residents of Switzerland in the year 2022. For its calculations, weighted more than 260,000 pieces of premium data based on the number of people insured by each provider, insurance models, deductible models, premium regions, and age groups.

The results: “If each insured resident would move to the most affordable insurance provider available, the collective annual savings would be 3.2 billion francs. That is without changing deductible or insurance models,” explains CEO Benjamin Manz. That translates into a cost saving of 368 francs per person and year.

Potential savings would be even bigger if residents would also migrate to the cheapest managed care models available to them. In that case, the average savings potential for 2022 would be 618 francs per person. That would be more than 5.3 billion francs saved across the population as a whole.

The estimate is a hypothetical figure because most residents will not change their health insurance. “Still, the analysis shows that in the coming year too, the majority of residents could save substantial amounts of money by changing health insurance companies or models,” says analyst Felix Oeschger.

Savings potential by age group

Swiss mandatory health insurance differentiates between three age groups: children (residents up to the age of 18), young adults (between 19 and 25 years old), and adults (26 or older). Insurance premiums and savings potential vary significantly between age groups.

Changing health insurance providers is particularly worth it for young adults and adults. Adult residents could save an average of 400 francs over the year by moving to the cheapest available health insurance, without changing insurance models. Young adults could save 479 francs, on average, while children could save 192 francs.

Potential savings with a change of insurance model

The expensive standard health insurance model gives you free choice of doctors, while the cheaper managed care models oblige you to get referrals from a gatekeeper. The managed care models with lower premiums include the family doctor, HMO and telemedicine models.  

Many residents do not use the cheapest insurance model available. Switzerland’s population could save an average of 318 francs per person by migrating to the cheapest available insurance models in 2022. If all residents of Switzerland were to move to the cheapest model, the population would collectively save 2.7 billion francs.

A look at the differences in savings potential across age groups is also interesting with regards to insurance models. Adults could potentially save 392 francs per person, on average, by switching to the cheapest insurance model. That is nearly as much as the 400 francs they could save by changing insurance providers (without changing insurance models).  

The picture looks somewhat different in the young adult age group. A resident aged 19 to 26 could save an average of just 217 francs by adopting the cheapest insurance model. That is less than half of the 479 francs they could save by changing insurance companies. One reason for this is that 80 percent of young adults already use managed care models – a high rate compared to the adult group. So for residents between 19 and 26 years old, there is little savings potential in moving to the cheapest managed care models.

Things look similar for children, with an average of just 62 francs of savings potential from changing insurance models compared to 192 francs per child for changing insurance providers.

Major cantonal differences

Like last year, potential savings for adults willing to change insurance providers is highest the canton of Geneva. Residents of Geneva could save an average of 585 francs in 2022 by moving to the cheapest insurance provider, followed by Basel-Stadt at 531 francs.

Savings potential is lowest in the cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Ausserrhoden, at 170 and 254 francs per person and year respectively.

Individual cost savings

The savings estimates calculated by are theoretical averages which highlight the differences in premiums charged for mandatory health insurance. But in practice, savings potential varies between each individual. Savings potential can vary depending on the age, premium region, deductible, insurance company and insurance model in question.

Some residents could save thousands of francs over the coming year by changing insurers and models. Taking a moment to compare is worth it, even if mandatory health insurance as a whole will, on average, be slightly cheaper in 2022.

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