Compulsory Accident Insurance, voluntary Health Insurance

In 1912, voters accepted a revised proposal for health and accident insurance. It prescribed a partial obligation for accident insurance, but excluded fundamental reform to health insurance. In 1918, Suva (the Swiss Institute for Accident Insurance) commenced its work.

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After a quarter of a century of intense debate, voters finally accepted the Federal Act on Health and Accident Insurance (KUVG) on 4th February 1912. With respect to accident insurance, the KUVG broadly conformed to the Lex Forrer proposal previously rejected in the 1900 referendum. However, the mandatory insurance covered a smaller demographic range and was limited to employees in industry and to certain professions. Until the 1980s, only about half of the employed workforce had mandatory insurance against accidents, though there was a growing number of voluntary policyholders. The benefits (treatment costs, illness allowance, pensions and death benefits) and funding of the accident insurance were similar in scope to the 1900 proposal. However, the bill did not include mandatory health insurance. It was the cantons that subsequently passed such obligations. The Confederation’s involvement remained restricted to the subsidization and regulation of private funds

The new act transferred the implementation of the accident insurance to Suva (the Swiss Institute for Accident Insurance), which began its work as an autonomous public-law entity in Lucerne in 1918. To this day, the highest decision-making body in Suva is the administrative board comprised of representatives of employers, employees and the Confederation. The administrative board also appoints the board of directors. Suva’s responsibilities include accident prevention, a task previously assigned to factory inspectors. In addition, Suva has been committed to the field of medical rehabilitation for many years, in particular by running a health spa facility in Baden (1928).

Literatur / Bibliographie / Bibliografia / References: Lengwiler Martin (2006), Risikopolitik im Sozialstaat: Die schweizerische Unfallversicherung (1870–1970), Köln.