Insurance News

Huge Regional Divides in Swiss Health Insurance Premiums

September 22, 2020 - Benjamin Manz

Residents of French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland pay significantly higher mandatory health insurance premiums than residents of German-speaking Switzerland. That is the conclusion of a study of 2021 mandatory health insurance premiums in Switzerland by independent Swiss online comparison service

According to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, the hike in premiums for compulsory health insurance in 2021 over 2020 is moderate, at an average of 0.5%. But premiums were already very high in 2020, and while the countrywide average increase may be moderate, regional averages vary.

The independent online comparison service studied Swiss mandatory health insurance premiums across Switzerland’s three major linguistic regions. The study calculated the average insurance premiums for German-speaking, French-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland.

The conclusion: The weighted average mandatory health insurance premium for French-speaking Switzerland is much more expensive than the premium for German-speaking Switzerland. “The study shows that linguistic barriers are also present in health insurance,” says analyst Felix Oeschger. Residents of Italian-speaking Switzerland also pay notably higher premiums than German-speaking Switzerland – with premiums now being almost as high as in French-speaking Switzerland.

“The primary causes of premium discrepancies are the differences in healthcare costs between premium-regions and linguistic regions,” states Felix Oeschger. Per-capita healthcare costs are higher in French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland than in German-speaking Switzerland.

Divides in regional premiums for adults

The average 2021 mandatory health insurance premium in German-speaking Switzerland for adult residents age 26 or older is 367 francs per month. The average premium in French-speaking Switzerland is 437 francs per month. “That means residents of French-speaking Switzerland pay 840 francs more per year, on average, than residents of German-speaking Switzerland,” explains CEO Benjamin Manz.

High health insurance premiums in Ticino

Ticino is disproportionately affected by 2021 premium increases. The average mandatory health insurance premium of the Italian-speaking canton is now nearly as high as the average premium of French-speaking Switzerland. Adult residents of Ticino will pay 431 francs per month, on average, for mandatory health insurance. That is 64 francs more per month than the average premium of German-speaking Switzerland. “On average, residents of Italian-speaking Switzerland will pay 770 francs more over the year than residents of German-speaking Switzerland,” states Manz.

Divides in regional premiums for young adults

Differences between linguistic regions are also visible in mandatory health insurance premiums for young adults aged 19 to 25. Young adults residing in French-speaking Switzerland will pay 320 francs per month in premiums, on average. Young adults in Ticino will pay an average of 298 francs per month, and young adults in German-speaking Switzerland will pay an average of 259 francs per month.

The pattern is similar for the youngest age group – children up to the age of 18. Average premiums for children are 101 francs per month in German-speaking Switzerland, 115 francs per month in Ticino, and 118 francs per month in French-speaking Switzerland.

Valais: higher premiums in French-speaking regions

As in previous years, premium discrepancies in the bilingual canton of Valais are particularly interesting. Valais is divided into different premium regions. Some of these regions are predominantly French-speaking, while others are predominantly German-speaking.

Health insurance premiums in French-speaking Valais are higher, on average, than health insurance premiums in German-speaking Valais. “In this regard, Valais reflects the pattern we see in Switzerland as a while,” concludes Manz.

The average mandatory health insurance premium in German-speaking Valais is 334 francs per month, while the average monthly premium in French-speaking Valais is 364 francs – 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.