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Our complete guide to understanding the importance of international health insurance

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How to Choose Health Insurance in Switzerland if You Are an Expat?



The Swiss health system is excellent, but the price is among the highest in the world. Any expat moving to this country should think about getting a private medical policy to have satisfactory coverage.

In this article, you will find some tips on how to choose health insurance in Switzerland.

Public Health Insurance in Switzerland

There Is a Mandatory Health Plan in Switzerland

The Swiss health insurance system can be confusing for a foreigner.

There is a compulsory health scheme (LAMal). But the coverage of the insured is managed by private companies, supervised by the authorities.

For example, they are obliged to accept all applications for membership from people in their area of activity.

This compulsory insurance covers hospitalization in a shared room, general medicine, and prescribed drugs. Maternity and certain services are provided only under certain conditions.

The Cost of Health Care in Switzerland

Health care is expensive in Switzerland. General practitioner consultations are charged by the time, in 5-minute increments. You will need to pay about 60 euros to see your doctor for about 20 minutes.

Even for insured people, the bill remains high. All health insurance companies apply annual deductibles and a 10% deductible on reimbursed procedures, once the ceiling is reached.

A daily contribution of 13 euros per day of hospitalization is also required. Ceilings common to all medical funds exist for certain groups, such as children or pregnant women.

Dental and optical care are also very poorly covered by the public health insurance in Switzerland. A simple check-up at the dentist costs more than 200 euros.

Without a medical policy, all health costs are at the patient’s expense.

How to Choose Health Insurance in Switzerland?

Foreigners and Medical Insurance in Switzerland

In Switzerland, private health insurance is not mandatory for a tourist stay. The European Health Insurance Card is accepted and allows you to benefit from the same conditions of coverage as the locals.

However, you will have to pay your bills before you can be reimbursed. And a contribution to expenses will be required.

All residents are obliged to join the Swiss health insurance scheme, The only exceptions are the seconded workers, who are covered by their national Social Security system. And students who are already covered by a mutual insurance company or an international plan.

Cross-border workers have the right to opt for either the Swiss health scheme or their country’s Social Security. In any case, the membership and the choice of the insurance company must be done within the first three months after settling down in Switzerland.

Taking out a supplementary policy in addition to the compulsory insurance allows you to benefit from better guarantees and higher reimbursements. Particularly in the case of hospitalization or dental care.

It is advisable to take out an international contract rather than a policy with a Swiss insurer. The coverage will follow the insured during his trips abroad or any stay in the home country.

Health insurance in Switzerland for expats with an international company also offers other advantages. For example, third-party payment in case of hospitalization in a partner center.

Please note: not all insurers cover Switzerland. And subscribing to an international policy does not exempt you from subscribing to compulsory insurance.

Different Options in Health Insurance in Switzerland for an Expat

When discussing how to choose health insurance in Switzerland, most expats recommend the “1st euro/dollar” contracts. They take care of medical expenses at the real cost.

This is a very popular solution due to its good value for money and its flexibility. There are many formulas available with different insurers. And it is possible to add guarantees according to one’s needs.

Please note: A medical questionnaire is mandatory and may lead to an increase in premiums or exclusions from coverage. Particularly in the case of pre-existing medical conditions.

This is not the case with basic Social Security insurance. It covers chronic illnesses and does not require a health questionnaire.

However, given its limited levels of coverage and reimbursements, Social Security alone is not satisfactory as medical insurance in Switzerland.

It is necessary to add supplementary insurance, which will apply the same restrictions as a 1st euro contract. And it will entail the payment of a second contribution.

But the Social Security still has the advantage of allowing you to regain your rights automatically in case of resettlement in your home country.

To choose your health insurance in Switzerland, it is advisable to use an online comparator. It will provide you with quick and easy quotes adapted to your needs and budget.

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