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Medical Reform in One Word or Less: Switzerland

                                    MEDICINE IN SWITZERLAND

  • The Swiss have universal coverage and excellent health care at costs 40 percent lower than ours and all providers and insurers are private companies.
  • The poor in Switzerland are given money to buy individual policies.
  • Swiss insurers do not discriminate against the sick. The unhealthy pay the same price as everyone else. They are guaranteed coverage.
  • The general and administrative expenses are equal to five percent of revenues in Switzerland -- as compared to 12–18 percent for American carriers.
  • The sick among the Swiss are not discriminated against. The private insurers reinsure each other so that high-cost enrollees pay the same price as the average person.
  • The Swiss have approximately 90 private health insurance companies. They compete aggressively to cover individuals. Each citizen has his own policy.
  • The Swiss have universal coverage, but no government-run insurance.
  • The Swiss model achieves universal coverage, individual ownership of policies which cannot be cancelled, excellent health care for the sick and healthy, the highest client satisfaction in the world, and it costs 40 percent less, as a percentage of GDP, than medical care in the United States.
  • The Swiss require coverage and enforce the requirement through their IRS. They have achieved 99% coverage through a private medical insurance system.
  • You can buy a five‐year policy in Switzerland. At the beginning, your health status is measured. If you hit a health target at the end of five years, you may get up to half your insurance premiums back.
  • Healthy Living Pays: If the money used to purchase employer-sponsored health insurance had been given as cash to joint 2006 tax filers who earned less than $73,000 after taxes, 90% would have had a raise of 16 percent. After purchasing high deductible plans, some large part of their gain would be retained. In Switzerland, where this is an option, about a quarter of the market has opted for lower-cost high-deductible plans.

Michael David White is a mortgage broker in Chicago. He blogs at

"Medicine in Switzerland" is part of a larger blog posting called "Medical Reform: 250 Fun Facts". The full list (click here) will be updated and corrected as suggestions come in.