The Swiss Healthcare System explained
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The Swiss Healthcare System explained

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This is everything you need to know about the healthcare system in Switzerland when you’re an expat in Switzerland or a foreigner living abroad.

Find out what it means to be a patient in a Swiss hospital, what are the costs, how to handle yourself in an emergency situation and how to make the most of your health insurance.

For any questions related to healthcare in Switzerland, reach out to our partner Hirslanden, the largest private hospital group in Switzerland. Their dedicated team for international residents in Switzerland will help you quickly and efficiently, answering any medical questions you might have and setting up fast appointments with excellent doctors.

Get in touch with Hirslanden

Swiss Healthcare system explained for foreigners & expats

The Swiss healthcare system enjoys high recognition worldwide for its excellent quality and innovative strength. It is regularly ranked among the most outstanding healthcare systems in the world. According to the Euro Health Consumer Index 2019, the Swiss healthcare system is the best in Europe

Medical care in Switzerland stands out above all for its simple and fast access to highly qualified specialists. In addition to short waiting times (where consultations can be arranged within a few days and waiting times for treatment are not a concern and much shorter than in other countries) Switzerland beats any other country for medical quality in staff and equipment, safety, hygiene and precision. 

Patients in Switzerland benefit from these unique local advantages. The concentration of  state-of-the-art medicine here allows you to get back to your home and daily life as quickly as possible.

On this page you'll find essential infos on Health insurance in Switzerland, How to register with a GP, what it means to be a patient in a Swiss hospital, what it means to give birth in Switzerland or what to do in a medical emergency. 

What to do in a medical emergency?

Find out exactly what you can do in a medical emergency. 

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Prevention is better than cure 

How should you approach prevention? 

When life happens at a dizzying pace (especially for you as an expat), you can easily neglect the clues your body is sending. Or it can just be very hard to prioritize regular check-ups when nothing feels wrong. In reality, regular check-ups are one of the best investments in yourself: the earlier health risks and potential medical conditions are detected, the better they can be treated or even prevented, thus increasing your prospects of a long and happy life.

Prevention done right

Efficient prevention requires a personalized check-up that always starts with a full assessment of your current medical situation to determine all potential risks.

At Hirslanden, we always start with a basic comprehensive assessment of the current medical situation. We practically team up with you to assess potential health threats, then we continue the check-up program individually. 

For a preventive evaluation of the health of a particular organ, or if significant illnesses have previously occurred in your family (for example, bowel cancer), we recommend an organ-specific preventive health check- up. These preventive programs are put together on a specialty-specific basis, and deal with an organ system (for example, the skin is covered by Dermatology).

Preventive genetic assessment 

Hirslanden’s ‘Precise’ program intends to up the ante in early diagnostics. For that, we use genetic analyses to adapt drug therapy to each individual patient in terms of type and dose, the goal being to make drug therapy safer and more effective. 

Pharmacogenetics uses information about your genetic constitution or genetic make-up to choose the drugs and medicine doses that will be most effective for you. Our check-up centers for international patients provide the experts in Switzerland for preventive medicine and diagnostics. They are located at Lake Zurich and in the center of Geneva.

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Do you need a specialist doctor?

When you need to see a specialist, Hirslanden, part of the largest private hospital group in Switzerland, has set up a direct line to support foreigners in Switzerland.

If you're a foreigner in Switzerland, you might not know who to turn to when you need a more serious medical intervention. You might also need support in English and have numerous questions related to your health insurance. 

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Health insurance & healthcare

How expensive is healthcare in Switzerland?

Healthcare in Switzerland is of excellent quality with highly trained staff and cutting-edge technology, which does not come cheap. However, your health insurance will cover most healthcare costs.

The amount of money you pay out of our own pocket depends on the type of franchise you choose. The higher the franchise (=your contribution), the lower your monthly premium gets. When you choose a low franchise, your monthly premium will automatically be higher. 

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How to choose your GP in Switzerland

Depending on your basic insurance policy, you can choose your GP from a predefined pool of doctors, from GPs in your canton of residence or from anywhere in Switzerland. We recommend you choose a GP close to your home.

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Giving birth in Switzerland

What happens when you’re pregnant in Switzerland? And what's it like giving birth in Switzerland?

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A day in a Swiss Hospital

What happens when you're a patient in a Swiss hospital and what is the best hospital in Switzerland? 

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Do you have more questions related to healthcare in Switzerland?

Reach out to our partner Hirslanden, the largest private hospital group in Switzerland. 

Get in touch with Hirslanden