Relocating To Switzerland - Part II: Which insurance do I need?


Health insurance Blog


Obrist Helps gives as an independent insurance broker good overview of ​​the health insurance obligation in Switzerland and explains important models and differences.


In Switzerland the health insurance is mandatory

Every person living in Switzerland needs to hold a health insurance. Within three months after relocating to Switzerland and registering for residence, one must decide for one of many health insurance companies and models. The service level of each insurance company, the chosen doctor's model, the franchise, the supplementary insurance and, last but not least, the health insurance premium should be adjusted to one's needs and state of health.


The basic insurance (compulsory)

The basic insurance is mandatory for every person living in Switzerland. You can not influence the duty to be health insured, but, for sure you can decide which health insurance company you decide to go for and you are also free to choose the doctor's model or the franchise options.


Franchise options

The franchise defines the amount, that needs to be payed by oneself, per calendar year, from one’s total health costs resulted by visits to the doctor and medicines.
Defined by the law, the following Franchise options are possible and are the same with each health insurance company: CHF 300 / CHF 500 / CHF 1000 / CHF 1500 / CHF 2000 / CHF 2500.

Once the amount of the chosen franchise is reached, 90% of the costs are borne by the health insurance company. 10% must be payed by the patient as a deductible.
The more often one uses medical services, the sooner a lower Franchise is recommended (for example CHF 300). Conversely, this means that, the highest franchise makes sense if one is visiting the doctor occasionally. The higher the franchise, the lower the monthly due, but one must always keep in mind, that in a case of emergency, having a high franchise, always a certain amount of money must be saved, to be able to pay unexpected costs.


Doctor models

  • Free doctors choice: For every concern you can go to a doctor or specialist of your choice. This model is the most expensive model.
  • Primary Care Physician / HMO Model: Any health concern must be going through the primary care physician or through the HMO Center (Health Maintenance Organization). If necessary, the primary care physician will refer the patient to a specialist. This is probably the most common model in Switzerland.
  • Telephone model / Telemed: In order to be able to see a doctor or specialist, with this model one needs to call the health insurance first. This model is for sure the cheapest option.


Accident insurance

In Switzerland, a distinction is made between health insurance and accident insurance. If you have a job and work more than 8 hours per week, you are covered by the employer's accident insurance - even in the case of accidents outside of work. An inclusion of the accident insurance with the basic insurance is not necessary in this case. If your do not have a job, or work less than 8 hours per week, but also for children, accident insurance should be included.


Supplementary insurance (VVG)

It is not a must - but highly recommended. The supplementary insurance closes the gap to optimal insurance protection.
For example with the Hospital Insurance one may insurance for the general department, semi-private department, private department and Flex models. Depending on the department, differences may arise between the responsible physicians and sharing of the hospital room with other patients.
Complementary medicine (such as homeopathy), medicines, emergency treatment abroad, transports, physiotherapy, contributions to fitness centers, glasses, contact lenses, etc. are offered in different types and coverages depending on the supplementary insurance package and constellation. Compare and, above all, a competent advice at this point is worthwhile.


Good to know

The insurance benefits of the basic insurance are identical and statutory with all health insurance companies. It exists a uniform service catalog, which must be fulfilled by each health insurance company in Switzerland.
The advisory service for insurance companies is for free and is included in the monthly insurance due, and as a result, there are usually no invoices from insurance advisors to customers.


Compare health insurances and ask for advice

It turns out that one has to think of many things when choosing a health insurance company. Despite nationwide requirement of a health insurance obligation, there are various differences for each insurance company.
When choosing the right franchise, doctor's model or supplementary insurance, it is advisable to consult an independent specialist in order to obtain correct and transparent advice.




This blog article is a cooperation with Doman O. Obrist.

Doman O. Obrist is an independent insurance broker, helping his clients making the right choice with their insurance. He is specialized in International Local Hires. He is fluent in German and English.

For more information and free consultation services please visit:

Obrist Helps Consulting GmbH
Seestrasse 42
CH-8802 Kilchberg
+41 (0)44 772 14 44
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