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InsuranceHealth insuranceGlossary
Health insurance

Newcomers (immigrating to Switzerland)

Useful information about basic health insurance

Once you have registered at the residents' registration office, you have 3 months to take out mandatory basic health insurance. If you apply for insurance within this period, you are covered as of the date you took up residence in Switzerland. Premiums for this time must also be paid retroactively within this period. If you miss the deadline, coverage will not start until after conclusion. Additionally, an extra charge will be levied for late registration.

Basic insurance benefits are consistent among all health insurance providers. With a few exceptions, dental treatment is not covered by basic insurance.

Savings opportunities:
  • If already insured for accidents by an employer, accident coverage can be withdrawn.
  • Besides standard basic insurance, some providers also offer savings models such as the Telmed, family doctor or HMO model. These models allow you to save up to 25% on premiums.
  • You can also save by raising your deductible.
  • Furthermore, in Switzerland individuals with a low income are entitled to a premium reduction.
  • The amount of premiums you will have to pay generally depends on your future place of residence. Please note that Switzerland uses the system of per-capita premiums. This means that the premium for a family of four is composed of two adult and two child premiums.
  • You can make a personal premium comparison for basic insurance here.
What you need to know about supplemental insurance

Unlike with basic insurance, benefits of supplemental insurance vary depending on the provider. There are two categories: supplemental outpatient insurance and supplemental hospital insurance. For supplemental health insurance, providers may set their premiums according to risk, i.e. depending on the holder's age and gender. They may also impose provisos.

Supplemental outpatient insurance may include additional coverage for alternative medicine, medication not covered by basic insurance and psychotherapy performed by therapists without medical training. Furthermore, there are supplementary insurance products covering:

  • measures to promote health such as memberships or passes for gyms, swimming pools, etc.
  • immunisation and travel vaccinations
  • balneotherapy and convalescent care
  • home nursing services and domestic help
  • glasses and contact lenses
  • medical accessories and devices
  • emergency transport and transfer transport as well as rescue and salvage costs
  • cost of dental treatment, corrective dentistry and maxillofacial surgery
  • treatment abroad (also temporary during holidays)

All of these benefits are usually limited to a certain maximum amount per calendar year.

Hospital insurance covers inpatient treatment:

The supplemental insurance for general ward throughout Switzerland covers any extra costs incurred during a stay at a hospital outside the canton of residence. On 1 January 2012, a new hospital financing regime was introduced. Since then, basic insurance and the canton of residence have fully covered hospital treatment in another canton if the hospital in question is on a hospital list and the costs (per-case flat rate) are no higher than they would have been in the canton of residence. If the per-case rate exceeds the corresponding rate in the canton of residence, it has to be paid by the patient or his/her supplemental insurance. This supplement may still be worthwhile for inhabitants of cantons with low hospital costs who wish to be treated in another canton. As before, basic insurance still covers all treatment that is not available in the canton of residence (transplants, for instance) as well as emergency treatment.

Supplemental insurance for semi-private care throughout Switzerland covers the policyholder for a two-bed room. In public hospitals, it is usually the senior physician who is responsible for the treatment of semi-privately insured policyholders.

Supplemental insurance for private care throughout Switzerland covers the policyholder for a one-bed room. In public hospitals, it is usually the chief physician who is responsible for the treatment of privately insured policyholders.

Flex models: alternatives to hospital insurance. Holders choose a ward upon admission. This supplemental health insurance covers all treatment in the general ward throughout Switzerland; if private or semi-private treatment is desired, patients have to pay a previously specified amount or percentage out of pocket.

Hotel models offer the comfort of a one- or two-bed room without free choice of doctor.

Some insurance models limit the choice of hospitals to a list defined by the insurance company, which leads to lower premiums.

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