An average increase of 10% in supplementary health contributions is planned for this year 2024, despite increases already recorded in 2023. Is good health care becoming a luxury? Update with Frédéric Bizard, economist specializing in social protection and health issues.
They have already increased by 7.1% in 2023 and will not stop there… In 2024, contributions to complementary health insurance should officially increase by another 8% according to the Mutualité. In reality, we would even be around a 10% increase on average, according to the Mutualité’s announcement based on contributions at a “constant theoretical age”. However, as soon as we take into account the increases “age-related” carried out by the complementary companies, the bill turns out to be even higher. Among retirees, UFC to Choose who looked into the question, even identified increases of 25% and 30%, or approximately 720 euros more to pay per year for a couple.
An opaque public/private system that blurs the lines?
Why such an increase? The government, on the one hand, has a responsibility. To avoid increasing public spending on compulsory health insurance, it regularly carries out progressive transfers of acts to the private sector. The user pays the bill without really knowing it, through their contribution to complementary health insurance.
For their part, the contributions returned in the form of reimbursements are far from the 100% that one might expect. Still according to UFC-Que Choisir, only 89% of contributions to complementary health insurance managed by provident institutions are paid in the form of reimbursements, compared to 80% for mutual societies and 78% for insurance. And the simple management fees of mutual insurance companies capture on average 20% of what you pay (compared to 4% for Health Insurance).
Competition that does not exist (and does not reduce prices)
Consulted on the subject, Frédéric Bizard, economist specializing in social protection and health issues, highlights a French exception which favors this increase:
“In addition to poor management, there is an inability to reduce their operating costs because the system is ultimately very uncompetitive, with around 450 companies in Europe. A competitive system is when there is a real possibility of user choice. However, half of the workers are already subject to additional insurance. For the rest, the market is so opaque that self-employed people and retirees are unable to truly choose their individual contract. This situation cannot encourage a reduction in prices.”
Complementary products ill-suited to our real needs?
So are we condemned to paying more and more? For the economist, this zoom is perhaps an opportunity to open his eyes to a system that he considers absurd.
“What happens if you don’t have complementary insurance and you fall ill? Well in our system, rest assured, the more serious it is, the more you are covered, up to 100% by Health Insurance. Supplementary health insurance often only covers dental costs, optics and innovative therapies.”
The risk would then be more psychological than real, as the figures demonstrate:
“In 2022 for example, if we look at health expenditure per year and per person, Health Insurance has a spending rate of 2,750 euros, complementary health insurance of 450 euros, and the rest paid by the household of 250 euros. However, the average price of complementary health insurance for a retiree is 3,000 euros/year today. It is legitimate to ask the question: is it normal to pay in contributions more than 7 times the average reimbursement that you will receive from your supplement. Isn’t it better to put 1,500 euros of your own in an A booklet?”
Take stock of your needs
Both the UFC-Que Choisir and the economist advise you to make the effort to carefully calculate your own needs. To look over the last three years at what your health costs have been, and the reimbursements received to get an idea and direct you towards complementary insurance with perhaps fewer guarantees, but more suited to your situation.
An effort that remains difficult as companies are still criticized for the lack of readability of contracts.
The association, however, reminds consumers that they have the option of terminating their contract after one year in order to opt for a more advantageous offer.