Insurance News

Higher Premiums in French-Speaking Switzerland

September 26, 2019 - Benjamin Manz

Health insurance premiums in French-speaking Switzerland will again be much higher than premiums in German-speaking Switzerland in 2020. That is the conclusion of a study of premiums across Switzerland’s linguistic regions by independent online comparison service

Switzerland’s independent comparison service analyzed the compulsory health insurance premiums across German-speaking, French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland. For the study, accounted for individual premiums regions and the official language of each to determine the average health insurance premiums for Switzerland’s three primary linguistic regions.

The results show that the weighted average premium for compulsory health insurance is significantly higher in French-speaking Switzerland than in German-speaking Switzerland. The average premium in Italian-speaking Switzerland lies in the middle. “Differences in premiums are largely based on differences in healthcare costs,” states CEO Benjamin Manz. Healthcare costs are strongly influenced by cultural factors.

Premiums for adults by linguistic region

In German-speaking Switzerland, adult residents aged 26 or older will pay an average premium of 367 Swiss francs per month in 2020. In Italian-speaking Switzerland, the average monthly premium in 2020 is 423 francs. In French-speaking Switzerland, the average monthly premium is 435 francs per month. “That means adults in French-speaking Switzerland can expect to pay 816 francs more over 2020, on average, than their fellow mandatory health insurance policyholders in German-speaking Switzerland. That equates an 18% markup,” explains analyst Felix Oeschger.

Residents of Ticino will pay around 56 francs more, on average, than those of German-speaking Switzerland. That difference comes to 672 francs more over the year 2020 – a markup of 15% over the average premium in German-speaking Switzerland.

Premiums for young adults and children by linguistic region

Regional differences also affect young adults aged 19 to 25 years old. In 2020, young adults in French-speaking Switzerland will pay an average premium of 318 francs per month, compared to 293 francs in Italian-speaking Switzerland and 259 francs in German-speaking Switzerland. That means residents of French-speaking Switzerland pay almost 23% more for their compulsory health insurance than residents of German-speaking Switzerland and around 13% more than residents of Italian-speaking Switzerland.

The same pattern is present in the youngest age group. Insured children up to the age of 18 years old pay 102 francs per month, on average, in German-speaking Switzerland, 113 francs in Italian-speaking Switzerland and 118 francs in French-speaking Switzerland.

High premiums in French-speaking cantons

The Canton of Geneva has the second-highest health insurance premiums after Basel-Stadt. The average health insurance premium for adult residents of Geneva is 485 francs per month. Other French-speaking cantons are also among the most expensive. These include Neuchâtel (447 francs), Vaud (between 413 and 444 francs depending on the premium region), and Jura (424 francs).

Divided Valais

The Canton of Valais is divided into a German-speaking linguistic region in the east and a French-speaking linguistic region in the west. It is also divided into two separate health insurance premium regions, with one premium region being made up primarily of the German-speaking region, and the other of the French-speaking region.

Premiums in the region made up primarily of German-speaking Valais are notably lower than those for the region made up primarily of French-speaking Valais. The average monthly premium in German-speaking Valais is 333 francs, compared to 362 francs in French-speaking Valais. That is a difference of 30 francs per month.

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.