Is purchasing Switzerland expat health insurance a necessity for comprehensive care, or just an add-on that can be skipped? Let’s find out.
Switzerland is a beautiful country to be in. The majestic Alps, lakes, quiet villages, cosmopolitan cities, and landscapes marked by towering castles would attract anyone. And between the shopping, wine tasting, chocolates, and cheese, this small mountain nation is practically impossible to say no to. No matter what brings you to Switzerland, you know your time there would be memorable, for sure.
The healthcare system in Switzerland is among the best in the EU. While this might sound like an added advantage to its beauty, you should know that this also means that medical care in Switzerland is much more expensive than in other countries. If you’re moving to Switzerland, you need Switzerland expatriate health insurance to mitigate the expenses. While expat health insurance is a great option no matter where you are planning to move internationally, it’s something that you cannot afford to miss out on if you’re moving to Switzerland. Why?
Before we answer that, you’ll want to acquaint yourself with the local healthcare system. The Swiss health insurance system is called LAMal (l’assurance maladie, meaning “basic health insurance” in French) or KGV (Krankenversicherungsgesetz in German). While Cantons in Switzerland have their own regulations regarding health insurance, they also are governed under the Federal Law on Compulsory Health Care.
What makes the Swiss Healthcare System Unique?
There are two distinguishing factors of Switzerland’s healthcare system:
- Semi-public, semi-private way of operation: The healthcare system is not public, but managed by private insurance companies that are strictly regulated and registered under LAMal.
- Acceptance for all: Switzerland’s private insurance companies operate as non-profit organizations. They are referred to as the “sickness fund”, and they must accept everyone, irrespective of age, region, or state of health.
Enrolling in Swiss public health insurance is mandatory for all residents and expats. If you move to Switzerland, you need Switzerland public health insurance within 90 days of your arrival.
This medical insurance, which covers 80% to 90% of the cost of treatment, will cover a lot of basic facilities and medical care. The basic insurance covers:
- In-patient and outpatient treatment (only if offered by official doctors)
- Emergency treatment
- Partial contribution to transportation or rescue expenses incurred
- Some types of alternative medicine treatments, including homeopathy, Chinese medicine, and psychotherapy
- Rehabilitation expenses after treatment or illness
- Gynecological check-ups and abortions
- Spa treatment, if prescribed by the doctor
- Extreme dental conditions
- Maternity tests, check-ups, the cost of childbirth, ante-natal cases, urine and blood tests for women, breast examinations, and cervical cancer screenings
- Medicines that are on the official list and prescribed by the doctor
Please note that each family member needs to be insured individually.
Children are not covered under the family health insurance plan. When you get insurance for your children, they get separate benefits. Basic children’s insurance covers:
- Access to pediatric services
- Basic healthcare and treatment in pediatric hospitals
- Choice of pediatric doctor, provided they are a member of the Swiss Society of Pediatrics
Now, this seems a very comprehensive coverage at first glance, but there is a lot that isn’t covered here. And for coverage of everything else, you will need Swiss private health insurance. You can either purchase Switzerland expatriate health insurance from your compulsory policy provider, or look for other insurance providers instead.
You will also find a lot of insurance companies bundling the basic insurance policy that is mandatory by law and Switzerland private health insurance as a single-policy product.
To decide which plan is right for you, consider factors like what kind of coverage you need, what kind of cost you are ready to pay, and the policy provider. While your needs might vary, you would want to consider the following points before purchasing any expat health insurance in Switzerland.
Factors to Consider Before You Buy Switzerland Expat Health Insurance
- The Price:
Basic health insurance in Switzerland requires the policyholder to pay a certain contribution to the expenses. Children under 18 years of age are completely exempt from deductibles that need to be paid, but adults have an annual standard deductible. Also, the insurance charges an annual retention fee of about 10% up to a certain amount, with additional fees for children.
The higher the deductible you choose for your Switzerland expat health insurance, the lower your annual premium will be, and vice-versa.
Here, you need to analyze what you are more comfortable with: paying a lower premium with higher deductibles when the need arises, or paying a higher premium up front with lower deductibles during adverse medical conditions.
- The Level of Coverage:
While each policy differs, some of the basic services covered in private expatriate health insurance include:
- Orthodontic treatment
- Glasses/contact lenses and other optical treatments not covered in the basic plan
- Choice of doctor during hospital treatment
- Semi-private or even private rooms/wards during inpatient treatment
With higher premiums, you can receive even more policy advantages and broader coverage.
Secure Yourself with Switzerland Expat Health Insurance
Switzerland expat health insurance might seem like an added burden on your wallet at first, but it is in fact a need that you cannot ignore. It ensures that you get comprehensive coverage in Switzerland, and the policy benefits follow you even outside Switzerland and the EU.
Healthcare might be Switzerland’s strong point. But if you want to make sure that you are able to make use of the stellar Swiss healthcare system—and even stay protected while you are out of Swiss borders—then Switzerland expatriate health insurance is a must-have.