Health insurance in easy steps Which health insurance do you need?

Moving to a new country is always a big step to take – one that involves lots of uncertainties. Where is the right place to live? How to get from there to work? And what insurance is necessary?

As far as insurance goes, when moving to Switzerland one thing above all has to be taken heed of: health insurance is mandatory for everyone who lives in the country.

One is spoilt for choice, because not only are there numerous insurance companies, but mandatory basic health insurance can also be voluntarily complemented with supplementary insurance covering a wide variety of needs.

But which products are the right ones? And how does one take them out?

Mandatory basic health insurance

Although there are countless providers – the mandatory basic health insurance provided by all health insurers covers exactly the same benefits – they differ in terms of service. Some insurance companies also offer attractive models on a pick-and-mix basis, such as telemedicine or the choice of a family physician. Such a choice is usually rewarded with a lower premium, because these models enable optimally co-ordinated treatments, as a result of which costs can be better controlled.

Since basic health insurance is mandatory, it has to be taken out within three months after moving to Switzerland. Even infants require health insurance from the day of their birth. It can be easily taken out already before their due date, however. Then only their name and date of birth have to be subsequently registered. If you have already chosen an insurance provider and are not satisfied with it – no problem. Basic health insurance can be changed every year with one month's notice. And your new insurer is obliged to provide its basic health insurance to you.

There are, however, big differences primarily in the cost of basic health insurance. Unlike voluntary supplementary insurance schemes, age and gender do not figure into it. The premium is determined solely based on the insurer selected, your place of residence and the amount of the deductible selected. This deductible is the amount you have to pay yourself each year for your treatments in addition to the premium. Once your health care costs have exceeded this amount, your health insurance pays for your treatments – with the exception of a retention fee of ten per cent. As soon as this retention fee has exceeded CHF 700 for adults and CHF 300 for children per year, it also ceases to apply, and your health insurance covers the entire costs of treatment.

Supplementary health insurance

In Switzerland, basic health insurance already covers the vast majority of treatments. Nonetheless, supplementary insurance may make sense if you have any additional wishes or needs that are not covered by basic health insurance. 

There are numerous options that are combinable in different ways from insurance provider to insurance provider:
• Hospital stays in a private room, treatment in hospital by the senior consultant, medical costs abroad
• Dental care, including orthodontic treatment for children, glasses and contact lenses
• Psychotherapy
• Complementary medicine
• And even massage and fitness centre costs!

The Swiss health care insurance system is very extensive, which is why we strongly recommend that you get personally advised.

EGK-Gesundheitskasse will be happy to help you find the right insurance for you and your family. That way you will have optimum coverage in any situation in life. In doing so, our representatives are always there for you – and you benefit from the best possible service.

Author: Monika Courts, EGK Health Insurance

As branch office manager for EGK-Gesundheitskasse, Monika Courts looks back on many years of experience in the Swiss health insurance system. Monika and her team will provide service in English and excellent advice for international people on health insurance solutions in Switzerland.

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