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How expats can find the right health insurance in Switzerland

Updated on June 17, 2024

Navigating the Swiss health insurance system can be challenging for expats, but finding the right plan to meet all your needs is crucial. Within three months of arriving in Switzerland, expats are required to secure compulsory basic health insurance. Failure to do so can result in back payments and fines.

Expat Services Switzerland is here to walk you through the process of building the right health plan for your specific needs.

Understanding basic health insurance

You're legally required to have basic health insurance in Switzerland. The responsibility of getting insured is on you, and you can generally chose whichever insurance company you prefer. The basic health insurance is a fundamental part of the nation's social approach to healthcare, but there are still many options and complexities you need to be aware of.

Deductibles and premiums

  • Deductibles for adults: Ranges from CHF 0 to CHF 2'500, affecting how much of your medical expenses you must pay for each year before your coverage kicks in. Higher deductibles mean lower monthly premiums and vice versa.
  • Deductibles for children: Typically CHF 0 until age 18.
  • Cost sharing: After meeting your deductible, you’ll cover 10% of treatment costs, up to CHF 700 per year for adults and CHF 350 for children.

Health insurance models

  • Standard model: Allows you to choose any doctor, including specialists.
  • Family doctor model: Requires initial consultations with an assigned family doctor.
  • HMO model: Initial visits are to a family doctor at a medical center.
  • Telemedicine model: Requires calling a medical center to discuss symptoms before visiting a doctor if needed.

Accident Insurance: If you work less than eight hours per week, you’ll need to include accident insurance in your healthcare plan.

The importance of supplementary health insurance

Supplementary insurance is an addition that closes the many gaps left by basic health insurance. Offers for supplementary insurance differ greatly from provider to provider, but most of the time it requires a health check-up to conclude. Unlike with basic health insurance, a provider may deny your application for supplementary health insurance. 

  • Outpatient coverage: Includes worldwide coverage, alternative medicine, vision care, gym memberships, braces, and more.
  • Inpatient (hospital) coverage: Available in several options:
    • General ward: Shared room with up to six people, no doctor choice.
    • Semi-private ward: Shared room with one other person, some doctor choice.
    • Private ward: Private room, full doctor choice, potential elective treatment abroad.
    • Flex model: Option to upgrade to semi-private or private ward before hospitalization for an additional fee.

Choosing the right supplementary insurance can be complex, involving health questionnaires that must be completed accurately. We can guide you through this process to ensure your application is accepted.

Avoid penalties to reduce costs

Expats should be aware that premiums for basic insurance are retroactively applied from the date of arrival. If you miss the three-month deadline, you might also face penalties. If you're new in Switzerland, we can assist you in avoiding these fines by concluding your health insurance for you on time.

Making the right choice

Selecting the best health insurance involves numerous considerations, from deductibles to insurance models and supplementary coverage. Our comprehensive knowledge and collaboration with all health insurance offices can simplify this process. Contact us for personalized consultation tailored to your needs.

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Evgeniy Timoshenko

Do you have any questions? Get in touch with me.

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