Unified Insurance Premiums

Unified insurance premiums (German: Einheitspämien) are fixed insurance premiums which are not adjusted for individual policyholders. All policyholders pay the same premium regardless of risk levels. In Switzerland, the term is widely used in relation to health insurance.

The idea behind unified premiums: Everyone should contribute equally to health insurance. To date, not a single government-backed insurance scheme in the world has fully implemented unified premiums across the board without compromise. Instead, various unified premiums have been applied to different groups of policyholders.

The Swiss health insurance system is a good example of this. Unified premiums are applied to certain aspects of compulsory health insurance pricing, but not to others. For example, gender does not play a role in defining the cost of basic Swiss health insurance – men and women pay exactly the same premiums. That differentiates compulsory insurance from supplementary insurance policies, for which gender can play a role in pricing.

Basic Swiss health insurance premiums are also unified to some extent with regards to age. Premiums remain identical across entire demographics. For example, a 75-year-old man does not pay higher health insurance premiums than a 26-year-old woman because both are lumped into the unified “adult” category. In many other countries, age plays an ongoing role in determining health insurance premiums.

Still, premiums charged for compulsory Swiss health insurance are far from unified. More than 250,000 different premium variables applied in the 2019 insurance year, and these many variables must be evaluated by an unbiased health insurance comparison.

The following factors affect Swiss compulsory health insurance premiums:

1. Place of residence: The municipality in which you reside directly impacts your health insurance premiums. Premiums are calculated based on “premium regions”. There can be as many as three separate premium regions in one canton. Differences between premiums charged in different cantons and premium regions can be significant – as the reflect the estimated healthcare costs of specific regions. Healthcare expenses in French-speaking Switzerland are higher, on average, than those in German-speaking Switzerland – and so are health insurance premiums.

2. Age group: Only three age classifications are used in Swiss compulsory health insurance: child (up to 18 years old), young adult (19 to 25 years old) and adult (26 years old or older). Children and young adults pay lower premiums than adults.

3. Accident insurance: On average, adding accident insurance to your health insurance policy increases your premium by 6 percent. This insurance is compulsory if you do not receive accident insurance through your employer.

4. Deductible: Premiums vary depending on the deductible you choose. You can find more information on the topic of choosing the right insurance deductible here.

5. Managed care models: A number of managed care insurance models are available and premiums for managed care policies are generally lower than standard insurance premiums. Managed care insurance models include the family doctor, HMO and telmed models.

6. Child discounts: Some insurance providers discount premiums for children, when a family insures several children. You can find out more about child discounts here.

7. Insurance provider: There are major differences in the premiums which different insurance providers charge for compulsory Swiss health insurance. Comparing premiums using a health insurance comparison is important.

8. Income: While actual health insurance premiums remain the same regardless of your income, you can get premiums reductions if your tax returns show that you have below-average income. In this case, your health insurance premiums are partially subsidized by your canton of residence.

More on this topic:
Swiss compulsory health insurance comparison

Health insurance premiums in comparison

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