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C.D. HOWE INSTITUTE
The C.D. Howe Institute is an independent not-for-profit research institute whose mission is to raise living standards by fostering economically sound public policies.
In Switzerland, the government requires all citizens to purchase one of many competing eligible insurance plans, each of which must cover a specified minimum bundle of health services, including most physician and hospital services, drugs and dental care, as well as psychotherapy.
A plan may also offer coverage beyond the specified minimum, and insurers compete both in terms of the premiums they charge and in the range of services they cover.
Private insurance companies offer these compulsory insurance plans and must set flat premiums to all individuals across designated geographic regions. Premiums may not vary by income or individual health risk.
The federal government offers means-tested subsidies to help low-income individuals pay annual premiums. The government caps premium levels to ensure that they are within specified limits.
Two-thirds of Switzerland’s health costs are paid for publicly. And in particular, some 80% of Swiss hospital costs are paid publicly.
Under the mandatory plans, patient have restricted choice over health providers, and costs covered by insurers must not exceed set levels. Only cost-effective and clinically effective treatments are insured under the specified mandatory coverage. With government acting as a dispute-resolvin
About one-third of the Swiss population has voluntary supplementary insurance for coverage beyond the regulated minimum. However, there as been a declining interest in supplementary coverage over time as the bundle of services offered under the compulsory minimum plans has grown.