Who pays for the increasing costs of care?

Switzerland is home to an ever-growing number of elderly people. Care costs are thus rising. How will we finance them in future?


Daniela Schori

“Who will pay for my care when I am old and frail?” This is a question that more and more of us are asking. Last year, the report on the revision made to care financing in 2011 was published. What has it achieved to date? With respect to basic insurance, which co-finances care, the results appear pleasing: spending has stabilised – this is positive for the premiums of insured persons. In return, the cantons and municipal authorities are increasingly being called on to contribute.The primary change to the current care financing system is that the costs for care services covered under basic insurance are primarily financed by three payers: health insurance, private individuals and the public sector. The maximum contribution that patients in care homes have to pay from their own pocket has been limited by parliament to CHF 21.60 a day

The generous and the miserly

All care costs that exceed the contribution made by basic insurance coverage plus the amount of CHF 21.60 per day are thus borne by the municipal authorities and cantons. Each canton needs to govern itself how it organises this residual financing. The Federal Council has declared that some cantons are not implementing the rules as they should. In other words, they are paying the care homes and Spitex organisations too little. These in turn therefore pass their uncovered costs onto their patients. The Federal Council now wants to put an end to this unpleasant development.

View to the future

In its report on the future of long-term care, the Federal Council thus looks at how care in Switzerland should be organised and financed going forwards. How should carers live in future? What would make the care profession more attractive? And how can the rising costs be brought under control? Its focus with respect to the reduction of costs is placed on prevention: if chronically ill people can learn to live independently despite their ailments or risk groups such as diabetics learn how to prevent an illness, this will make an important contribution in the battle against rising care costs.


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