Health insurance in a nutshell
Basic health insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland. After moving here, you have three months to take out mandatory health insurance.
- The health insurance provider can be chosen freely.
- Health insurance can be changed at the end of every calendar year.
- The benefits are identical with all health insurance companies.
- The individual premium (monthly contribution) depends on one's place of residence, age, insurance model and deductible.
A premium comparison pays off since the premiums for mandatory basic insurance vary strongly from one health insurance company to another – even though the benefits are regulated by law and therefore the same with every provider. The benefits under mandatory basic insurance are specified in the Health Insurance Act (KVG) and cover the areas of sickness, accident and maternity. If already insured for accidents by an employer, accident coverage can be excluded.
Premiums for basic health insurance vary depending on the policyholder's age. The law (Art. 61 of the Health Insurance Act) defines three age groups:
- Children (up to age 18)
- Young adults (ages 19 to 25)
- Adults (age 26 and over)
Insurers must define lower premiums for children by law. For young adults, the insurance companies may offer reduced premiums, but they do not have to. The change from one age category to the next happens after the policyholder's 18th or 25th birthday, respectively, with effect from 1 January of the following year.
Health insurance providers are required to accept every applicant for basic health insurance (full freedom to choose one's insurer).