Health in Switzerland

Healthcare in Switzerland is universal[1] and is regulated by the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance. Health insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country). International civil servants, members of permanent missions and their family members are exempted from compulsory health insurance. They can, however, apply to join the Swiss health insurance system, within six months of taking up residence in the country.

Health insurance covers the costs of medical treatment and hospitalisation of the insured. However, the insured person pays part of the cost of treatment. This is done (a) by means of an annual excess (or deductible, called the franchise), which ranges from CHF 300 to a maximum of CHF 2,500 as chosen by the insured person (premiums are adjusted accordingly) and (b) by a charge of 10% of the costs over and above the excess up to a stop-loss amount of CHF 700.

Switzerland has an infant mortality rate of about 3.9 out of 1,000. The general life expectancy for men is 79.4 years compared to 84.2 years for women.[2]


Anna Seiler founded the first hospital in Bern, Switzerland.

Compulsory coverage and costs

Main article: Health insurance in Switzerland

Swiss are required to purchase basic health insurance, which covers a range of treatments detailed in the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance. It is therefore the same throughout the country and avoids double standards in healthcare. Insurers are required to offer this basic insurance to everyone, regardless of age or medical condition. They are not allowed to make a profit off this basic insurance, but can on supplemental plans.[1]

In 2014, the average monthly compulsory basic health insurance premiums (with accident insurance) in Switzerland are the following:[3]

  • CHF 396.12 for an adult (age 26+)
  • CHF 363.55 for a young adult (age 19–25)
  • CHF 91.52 for a child (age 0–18)

Private coverage

The compulsory insurance can be supplemented by private "complementary" insurance policies that allow for coverage of some of the treatment categories not covered by the basic insurance or to improve the standard of room and service in case of hospitalisation. This can include dental treatment and private ward hospitalisation, which are not covered by the compulsory insurance.

As far as the compulsory health insurance is concerned, the insurance companies cannot set any conditions relating to age, sex or state of health for coverage. Although the level of premium can vary from one company to another, they must be identical within the same company for all insured persons of the same age group and region, regardless of sex or state of health. This does not apply to complementary insurance, where premiums are risk-based.


The Swiss healthcare system is a combination of public, subsidised private and totally private systems:

  • public: e. g. the University of Geneva Hospital (HUG) with 2,350 beds, 8,300 staff and 50,000 patients per year;
  • subsidised private: the home care services to which one may have recourse in case of a difficult pregnancy, after childbirth, illness, accident, handicap or old age;
  • totally private: doctors in private practice and in private clinics.

The insured person has full freedom of choice among the recognised healthcare providers competent to treat their condition (in his region) on the understanding that the costs are covered by the insurance up to the level of the official tariff. There is freedom of choice when selecting an insurance company (provided it is an officially registered caisse-maladie or a private insurance company authorised by the federal law) to which one pays a premium, usually on a monthly basis.

The list of officially-approved insurance companies can be obtained from the cantonal authority.



Healthcare costs in Switzerland are 10.8% of GDP. In a comparison, out-of-pocket healthcare payments average US$1,350.[1]

Notes and references

See also

External links

  • Federal Office of Public Health
  • Expat advice on Swiss healthcare

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