Why ‘crisis resistant’ Switzerland is well placed to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic

Switzerland is considered one of the best-placed to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic according to a new study.

Why 'crisis resistant' Switzerland is well placed to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic

The BBC study which looked at the world’s most ‘crisis resistant’ nations and the measures that each had put in place to combat the virus.

The study found Switzerland is in a strong position to rebound from the crisis, despite it currently being one of the worst affected on a per capita basis. 

Coronavirus measures spark war of words between Switzerland and France

READ: What you need to know about the coronavirus crisis in Switzerland

According to the study, Denmark is the country which is currently in the best position to rebound, while Singapore also rated highly. 

The study also indicated that the United States had one of the world’s most resilient economies and would rebound in a successful fashion, despite it also enduring some of the most negative impacts of the pandemic seen anywhere in the world. 

Crisis resistant and quick to react

The ratings are calculated by evaluating the economic and physical distancing measures countries put in place as the outbreak began, while also looking at the 2019 Global Resilience Index, which looks at the world’s most ‘crisis resistant’ countries. 

High marks are given to countries which put in place social distancing strategies and implemented fiscal interventions to stabilise markets, which earned Denmark its lofty position. 

Like Denmark, Switzerland was one of the earliest countries to implement social distancing measures and to ban events and certain types of businesses from opening. 

Switzerland also put in place a wide range of economic measures aimed at securing businesses, employees and the self-employed. A package of CHF42 billion was originally announced, with the government later making another CHF20 million available. 

As at Tuesday, April 14th, Switzerland has recorded more than 1,140 deaths from the virus and has a total infected count of 25,719 people. 

The world’s most crisis resistant countries

The starting point for the BBC study was a 2019 assessment of the most crisis resistant countries in the world, which was completed by insurance company FM Global. 

Switzerland ranked third, coming in after Norway and Denmark, on that list. 

Germany and Finland rounded out the top five.


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Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad