Similar to the United States, there is no social insurance system in Switzerland in charge of people’s health.
However, it is mandatory to have health coverage at all times, and new immigrants are given three months to get covered. If you miss the deadline, you will be automatically subscribed to any one of the available plans.
You really want to avoid this from happening, because it is very easy to get health insurance (freedom of choice results in savings most of the time).
The insurance market is really expansive (this is THE country of insurances!), but all the companies have to legally offer the same basic coverage ("Grundversicherung"). The difference in rates is not based on a different offering, but rather in the "extras" you might expect. This includes online account maintenance, a toll-free number to call 24/7, etc.
In case you come from a place where even private insurance companies do not use "franchises", I will quickly explain what it is: The price you pay per month will depend on the franchise you decide to have. This is basically the annual amount of money the insurance will not cover and which will have to come directly out of your pocket.
Thus, the higher the franchise, the more you will have to pay out-of-pocket, but the lower your monthly premium will be...
Additionally, you might consider supplementary insurance: Under such an add-on, services like private hospital rooms, gym/pool memberships, or alternative medicine treatments may be covered.
If you already have health insurance in Switzerland, it is possible to switch providers once a year as of November 30. Even if you are happy with their service, it is advisable to compare premiums as switching to another provider is very simple!
My advice: The website comparis.ch is a good resource to compare the available plans. Simply enter some basic information and you will instantly see all the applicable plans and rates. With one click, you can request a formal quote and you are ready to go!
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