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How the cost of health insurance in Switzerland depends on where you live

The Local
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How the cost of health insurance in Switzerland depends on where you live
Photo: Depositphotos

With just over a week to go until you can change your health insurance provider, we’ve broken down the regional differences in health insurance costs. Spoiler alert: in some places, you’ll pay more than double.


Health insurance - like pretty much everything else in Switzerland - is expensive.

And unlike wine, restaurant food and cheese, health insurance is compulsory (OK, well cheese might be compulsory in certain settings, depending on the event, the company you keep and of course the cheese). 

But where is it the most expensive - and where is it the cheapest? 

The Swiss Department of Health has released its annual figures on health insurance costs - both for premiums and deductibles - across the country. 

Some are given across an entire canton, while some of the larger cantons are broken up into geographic districts. 

Residents of Switzerland have until the 29th of November to provide their insurer with a notification that you want to cancel your policy. 

Photo: Depositphotos

With each insurer legally obliged to inform you of any cost changes by October 31, you should have already received a letter telling you of any increases.

Estimated increases are approximately 0.2 percent, meaning it makes sense to look around and see if you can save. 

SPONSORED: The trick to saving money on your Swiss health insurance

Pursuant to Swiss law, everyone is required to take out health insurance within three months of arriving in the country - whether by birth or by traditional modes of transport. 

A Swiss health insurance policy will include a monthly premium, as well as a deductible - known in Switzerland as a ‘franchise’. 

What makes health insurance more expensive?

There are a number of factors which increase the cost of your health insurance. 

Demographics are a major one, while population density and access to hospitals will also play a role. 

Choosing a deductible will also make an impact, with a higher deductible meaning a lower premium. You will of course have to pay more in the event of medical treatment, so keep that in mind when making a decision. 

READ MORE: What you need to know before taking out Swiss health insurance

The following figures are for people over the age of 26, with anyone younger than that age eligible for discounted health insurance. 

The most expensive cantons for health insurance in Switzerland (minimum deductible of CHF300)

If you minimise your deductible to CHF300 - meaning of course your premiums will be higher - the most expensive will be in Basel City, where you’ll pay just over CHF450 per month. 

Basel City. High water, high premiums. Image: Depositphotos

Perhaps predictably, Geneva is the next most expensive - with a premium of CHF439 - followed by the southern region of Vaud where you’ll pay CHF415 per month. 

Finally, anyone living that capital lifestyle in the canton of Bern is likely to be paying a capital price, with a monthly sum of CHF413 in the Bern city region. 

Where will my premium be the cheapest in Switzerland? (CHF300 deductible)

When paying the minimum deductible of CHF300, the cheapest by far is in the north eastern canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, where monthly premiums sit at CHF266. 

From there, residents of the tiny canton of Nidwalden pay CHF280 per month, while Lucerne is a tad higher at just over CHF290. 

Appenzell Innerrhoden. Not a high premium in sight. Image: Depositphotos

What about a higher deductible? 

Want to pay less per month but more in the event of health treatment? The maximum deductible you can take is CHF2,500. 

The most expensive are the usual suspects of Basel City (CHF428 per month), Geneva (CHF413) and Neuchâtel (CHF390). 

At the cheaper end of the spectrum, Appenzell Innerrhoden (CHF202), Uri (CHF225) and Nidwalden (CHF226) are again at the top of the list. 

What does the obligatory/compulsory insurance cover? 

It pays for doctor-prescribed medications, treatments, and hospitalisations. But it never covers 100 percent of your expenses. 

Aside from the deductible, you usually pay 10 percent of the cost for your doctor's visits and prescription medications. If you choose a brand drug when a generic alternative is available, that can rise to 20 percent.

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