Are you aware that anyone moving to Switzerland as an expat needs compulsory health insurance coverage?
Although no social insurance system in Switzerland is in charge of people's health, it is mandatory to have health coverage at all times. By law, any new expats are allowed three months before they need to proof that they have coverage. And if the deadline passes, newcomers will automatically be subscribed to any of the available Swiss health insurance plans.
Let us give you an introduction to the myriad of Swiss health insurance options. We will also explain how the Swiss health insurance system works. And finally, we will outline the benefits of working with a broker who is specialized in health insurance coverage for expats.
An overview of options for health insurance in Switzerland
Basic Health Insurance
All Swiss citizens are required to have basic health insurance coverage at all times. From the arrival in Switzerland, new residents have three months to get basic health insurance. During this time period, they are free to choose a health insurance company from the list of authorized insurance companies.
Regardless of the provider, each insurance package offers identical coverage by law. The difference among providers, such as their service level or an online account to view invoices, manifests itself in the monthly premium.
The premium further changes according to sex and age of the insured. Depending on the basic health insurance plan, out-of-pocket deductibles begin as low as 300 francs (Franchise).
Premium/Supplementary Health Insurance
Those with additional needs beyond the basic insurance policy may take out a premium or supplementary health insurance. This could be for dental coverage or massage treatments.
It is important to note the exact contractual obligations, however. These include the costs, terms, benefits and conditions – factors that differ from one provider to another.
How does health insurance in Switzerland work?
Any expat in Switzerland is required to have health insurance as they become a resident. European Union citizens who are visiting Switzerland for less than three months are eligible for Swiss healthcare at a reduced cost. Only once they become residents, EU members will have to join a Swiss health insurance plan.
An interesting fact for cross-border commuters: they have the option of getting insurance in either Switzerland or their resident country.
Applying for health insurance in Switzerland
In Switzerland, any resident is responsible for getting their own Swiss health insurance plan. However, a newcomer cannot actually sign up for a plan before they have established residency. This could be by registering with a commune or applying for a Swiss residence permit.
As soon as the registration with a Swiss health insurance company is done, they will backdate the policy to the day of arrival in Switzerland. While this guarantees coverage for any claims during those first three months, this also means that the premium needs to be paid from the beginning of the insurance period.
It is possible to switch insurance providers once per year. The annual deadline to apply for new coverage elsewhere and for handing in a notice to the current provider is the last day of November.
Health insurance coverage
Basic health insurance as set by the law is the same across all providers. It includes:
- Prescription medicines prescribed by a doctor
- Inpatient and outpatient treatments from hospitals on an official list
- General healthcare
- Emergency healthcare
- Pregnancy services such as abortions, prenatal care, and childbirth expenses
- Illness while traveling abroad, but conditions apply.
About the admission to Swiss hospitals
The Switzerland hospitals have three types of wards including general, semi-private, and private. Basic Swiss health insurance covers admission to the general ward. It is possible to upgrade to semi-private or private wards by taking out a supplementary insurance or by paying the differential out of pocket.
Calling an ambulance in the case of an emergency will trigger additional costs for the insured. However, visits to the nearest emergency unit are included in the basic coverage.
When it comes to visiting a doctor in Switzerland
When visiting a doctor, it is important to proof insurance coverage by showing the official insurance card at check-in. If any fee is chargeable, the patient will have to pay the doctor's bill first, then claim a reimbursement from the insurer.
Benefits of a personal consultation with Expat Savvy
There are a number of health insurance providers in Switzerland, as well as a myriad of insurance offerings. Why do all the research when there are experts who provide personal consultations, such as Expat Savvy? They will help you find the right insurance for you in a stress-free manner.
The savvy experts of Expat Savvy will visit newcomers in their home to provide a comprehensive overview and find just the right insurance provider, deductible and supplementary coverage. Expat Savvy will compare all the options and ensure the best package. They offer:
1. Tailored health insurance advice
Expat Savvy partners with the most trusted insurance companies so that expats can get proper and up-to-date information. As part of their no-strings-attached consultation, Expat Savvy offers health insurance advice at no charge. In short: they are a neutral body motivated to provide tailored health insurance advice to their clients.
2. Best rates and promotions
There are good reasons to pay a bit more when it comes to premiums. Yet others might want to get the lowest possible rate. Regardless of the type of health insurance someone is looking for, Expat Savvy will compare all the options in Switzerland, find the optimal insurance package and handle all the paperwork.
How to get in touch with Expat Savvy
(This article is sponsored by Expat Savvy.)