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How much does health insurance cost in Switzerland?

How much does health insurance cost in Switzerland?
Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash
From deductions to supplementary insurance - and an official calculator to work out your premiums - how much will healthcare set you back in Switzerland?

Few things are cheap in Switzerland – and that certainly extends to healthcare. 

However, depending on what kind of coverage you need, where you live and how much you earn, the costs may vary. 

Here’s what you need to know about health insurance costs in Switzerland. 

How does the healthcare system in Switzerland work? 

First things first, it’s important to get an idea of how the healthcare system works in Switzerland. 

Unlike in some other countries, healthcare in Switzerland is funded through health insurance premiums. 

Switzerland’s universal health care system is unlike that of other countries like the United Kingdom and Australia in several ways, primarily as it operates under a compulsory obligation to buy health insurance. 

This is known as ‘compulsory insurance’. There is also ‘supplementary insurance’, which covers a range of other areas. 

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about health insurance in Switzerland

You can choose which insurance to buy, but you can’t choose not to – which means that people wanting to cut costs cannot simply decide to go without health insurance for a year or two while they get their rent straight and their head together. 

There are however some options for people with low or no income. These are discussed below. 

How much does health insurance cost in Switzerland? 

Costs depend on where you live, which insurance provider you select and what options you go for.

Children under 18 pay less than adults. People aged under 25 also enjoy cheaper premiums.

Another important factor when it comes to your monthly premium is your excess or ‘deductible’ (Franchise/franchigia).

Read also: Switzerland moves to make people pay greater share of health costs

The deductible (which people under 18 do not have to pay) refers to how much you will have to pay before your health insurance starts chipping in for costs of your treatment.

The minimum deductible in Switzerland is 300 Swiss francs (around €260). The maximum amount is 2,500 francs. The higher your deductible (in other words, the more you pay out of your own pocket) the lower your monthly premium is.

Are there any other costs?

Yes. Apart from the monthly premiums and the deductible, you may also have to pay a retention fee (Selbstbehalt/quote-part/aliquota percentuale) and a contribution to the cost of hospital stays.

The retention fee means you still have to pay 10 percent of medical costs over and above your deductible but this amount is capped at 700 francs for adults and 350 francs for children.

To give you an example, let’s say you have medical costs of 1,500 francs in a given year. If your deductible is 1,000 francs, you will pay 1,000 francs plus ten percent of the remaining 500 francs, so you will pay 1,050 francs and your insurer will pay 450 francs.

If you require a hospital stay, you will also have to pay an extra 15 francs a day, although children, young adults in training and education and women with full maternity cover do not have to pay this amount.

Swiss franc coins close up. Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

How much am I likely to pay?

To give one example, a 30 year old living in downtown Zurich with a 300-franc deductible would pay a monthly premium ranging from around 400–500 francs a month (depending on which insurer they go with). But if that deductible were 2,500 francs, the premium would range from around 265–410 francs.

The Swiss government has an online calculator (only available in German, French and Italian) which can help give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay.

What if I don’t have enough money? 

Being unemployed or earning little money does not remove you from the obligation to pay your health insurance premiums – however, you may be eligible for a reduction in your premiums. 

In effect, this involves the government paying part or all of your insurance premiums. 

Of course, because it’s Switzerland, this will differ depending on where you live.

Some cantons will pay part of your health insurance automatically when your tax return drops below a certain amount, while in other cantons you will have to apply yourself. 

To find out the situation in your canton contact your local authorities – or click the following link

Is it possible to save money on compulsory health insurance?

There are a number of ‘low-cost’ options for basic insurance, including the HMO, telmed and bonus insurance programs.

With the HMO (Health Maintenance Organisation) model, you are not free to choose your doctor or hospital. Instead, your first point of contact will be with a doctor from an HMO, or group practice, who will coordinate your treatment. In exchange, you get a cheaper premium.

READ MORE: How can health insurance in Switzerland be made cheaper?

You can also take out a Telmed policy, where (in most cases) you receive medical advice in a first consultation over the phone before a referral to a doctor or hospital.

Some providers also offer a bonus insurance program where you start with a higher premium which then drops for every year that you do not submit an invoice to your provider.

This can see premiums falling as much as 50 percent in five years.


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