What you need to know about the health system and health insurance in Switzerland.
- How the Swiss health care insurance system works
- Compulsory basic insurance
- Voluntary supplementary insurance
- Registration deadline and formalities
- Personal advisory service for migrants to Switzerland
How the Swiss health care insurance system works
Under the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance (Krankversicherungsgesetz (KVG) health insurance is mandatory for all persons resident in Switzerland. This compulsory insurance covers basic medical care in the event of illness, accidents and maternity, hence it is known as «basic insurance».
However, there are some exceptions to the requirement for residents to obtain health insurance. Under the agreement on the free movement of persons with the EU/EFTA member states, the country in which a person must be insured is the country in which that person is economically active. You are therefore required to obtain health insurance in the country in which you work or from which your pension is paid.
The following situations are possible when someone moves to Switzerland:
The standard case: taking up residence in Switzerland
If you move from another country to Switzerland and also work here, or draw a Swiss pension, then you're required to take out health insurance in Switzerland. Please read the information on the registration deadline and formalities.
Moving to Switzerland as a former cross-border commuter
If you already have health insurance in Switzerland as a cross-border commuter and officially move your place of residence to Switzerland, the previous cross-border commuter tariff for your basic insurance (based on the bilateral free movement agreements) will be changed to the tariff of your new place of residence in Switzerland. You must send your Swiss health insurer your new confirmation of residence.
Are you already insured with Helsana? Please contact our international customer service on +41 844 46 84 47 to get the change in the policy underway.
Moving to Switzerland while drawing employment income solely from an EU/EFTA country
If you are moving to Switzerland but will continue to work in an EU/EFTA country and will still be paid there, then, according to the "place of employment principle", you must be insured in the country where your employer is based. This normally applies in the same way if you are self-employed. In this case you cannot take out a health insurance policy in Switzerland. For more information see Information for cross-border commuters to EU/EFTA countries.
Moving to Switzerland while drawing a pension exclusively from one or more EU/EFTA member states
If you are moving to Switzerland but draw your pension exclusively from one or more EU/EFTA member states and have no income in Switzerland, you must obtain health insurance in the EU/EFTA member state from which you are drawing your pension. In this case you cannot take out a health insurance policy in Switzerland. Please contact your previous health insurer abroad for advice relating to the bilateral agreements on free movement.
Posting to Switzerland from abroad
If you are posted to Switzerland by your foreign employer for a specific period of time and move your residence to Switzerland,
then you may not be required to have health insurance in Switzerland, depending on your country of origin and the social security agreements between Switzerland and your home country. Please clarify your insurance cover for Switzerland with your employer and obtain advice from our international customer service. You can contact our international customer service team on +41 844 46 84 47.
Compulsory basic insurance
Basic insurance benefits
The benefits provided by the compulsory basic health insurance are laid down precisely in the Health Insurance Law. Therefore all health insurers in Switzerland cover exactly the same benefits under the basic insurance.
Insurance premiums in the basic insurance
The per-capita premium system applies in Switzerland. This means that every individual person is required to pay health insurance premiums irrespective of age or marital status. However, the premiums for children are significantly reduced. Children under the age of 18 receive a discount of at least 70% on the adult premium for compulsory basic insurance from the Helsana Group.
The premiums are not related to an individual's income but vary from location to location and from health insurer to health insurer, so policyholders may freely choose the health insurance company from whom they wish to take out basic insurance.
Cutting your premiums
The health system in Switzerland is highly developed and correspondingly expensive. However, value-for-money premiums are still possible, and we can offer you a number of different ways of cutting your premiums:
Co-payments by the insured
In Switzerland, just as in other countries, you have to pay part of your treatment costs out of your own pocket. These co-payments are mandated by the Swiss Health Insurance Law. Accordingly you are required to contribute to the benefits paid by your basic insurance on the following basis:
- with a fixed annual co-payment (deductible) of CHF 300. Children under the age of 18 are excluded from this. However, you can voluntarily choose a higher deductible, which will give you a corresponding discount on your premium.
- with a percentage co-payment (excess) of 10% of the benefit costs over and above the deductible. The excess is capped at CHF 700 for adults and CHF 350 for children per calendar year.
Voluntary supplementary insurance
A voluntary supplementary insurance allows you to obtain coverage for what many people regard as genuine needs, but which are not covered or only partly covered by the compulsory basic insurance.
As the leading Swiss health insurance provider, the Helsana Group offers a comprehensive range of supplementary health insurance policies. This means you can put together your own insurance cover to meet your personal needs.
Unlike in the basic insurance, supplementary health insurance benefits differ from health insurer to health insurer. That's why the independent and renowned VZ VermögensZentrum AG, in cooperation with well-known consumer magazines «K-Tipp», «Gesundheits-Tipp» and «Saldo», publishes the VZ test brochure «Krankenkassen im Vergleich» which compares health insurance providers. For many years now it has given the two Helsana Group outpatient supplementary health insurance products TOP and SANA top marks for excellent benefits!
Supplementary health insurance can be divided into outpatient and inpatient supplementary insurance:
Outpatient treatment: supplementary health insurance
Outpatient supplementary insurance offers cover in, for example, the areas of complementary medicine, coverage abroad, glasses/contact lenses, medications, health promotion (fitness subscriptions, back exercises, etc.), prevention (vaccinations, check-ups, etc.), dental treatment, orthodontic corrections, psychotherapy or comprehensive legal protection.
Inpatient treatment: supplementary hospital insurance
Hospital insurance offers increased comfort and choice if you are staying in hospital. For example, with a supplementary hospital insurance policy you have access to benefits such as a free choice of doctor, the ability to stay in non-cantonal and private clinics, accommodation in a single or double room, rooming-in or KidsCare (our unique childcare service).Up
Registration deadline and formalities
Registration deadline for compulsory basic insurance
Migrants who are obliged to have health insurance in Switzerland are required to register with a health insurer of their choice for the compulsory basic insurance within 3 months. The 3-month period begins on the day you register with the residents' office (i.e. the date of issue of your confirmation of residence or residence permit).
Please note that if you register within the three-month period, the insurance cover begins retroactively from the date you arrived in Switzerland rather than from the date when you sign up for basic health insurance. For this reason, the insurance premiums are also payable retroactively from the date of arrival in Switzerland.
However, if you still have equivalent foreign private health insurance cover during the three-month registration period, it may be possible to defer the start date of the compulsory basic insurance (and thus also the premium payments) by up to a maximum of three months. To do so, you must enclose a confirmation of cancellation from your foreign health insurer with your application form for compulsory basic insurance.
How to register for basic insurance
It's easy to request a quote for the compulsory basic health insurance plus any voluntary supplementary insurance you are interested in straight away. You can reach us from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. by calling +41 43 340 19 90.
Please complete the application form for the compulsory basic insurance, sign it and return it to us at the following address:
Please note: family members over the age of 18 are required to sign their insurance application themselves.
To avoid any unnecessary delays, please ensure that you enclose the following documents with your insurance application:
- Insurance quotation (copy from Helsana / Progrès / Sansan / Avanex)
- Copy of your confirmation of residence (available from the Residents Registration Office in the municipality in which you reside)
- Copy of your residence permit (e.g. B, C, L)
and, if you're still covered by health insurance in your country of origin when you come to Switzerland:
- Confirmation of cancellation from your foreign health insurance company
After you've submitted all the documentation, you'll receive a confirmation of insurance from us. As soon as we've processed your application, we'll also automatically send you your insurance policy and insurance card.
How to apply for supplementary insurance
If you're interested in supplementary insurance in addition to basic insurance, please also complete the application for supplementary insurance and the health questionnaire. Please answer the questions truthfully and in full.
Our experts will carry out a risk assessment based on your health declaration. You will then receive a notification from us, depending on the results of the risk assessment. This will either be a confirmation of acceptance, possibly with an exclusion for pre-existing conditions, or a letter of rejection if the risk is regarded as too high for the existing policyholder structure in the relevant supplementary insurance.
Personal advisory service for migrants to Switzerland
If you have any questions or would like advice based on your individual requirements, the specialists in our multilingual advisory team will be very happy to help you. You can reach us from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the following numbers:
- Tel.: +41 43 340 19 90
- Fax: +41 43 340 06 80
If you draw your salary or pension exclusively from another EU or EFTA country, please contact our International Competence Centre directly for advice. They can be contacted from Switzerland or abroad on +41 844 46 84 47 and will be happy to assist you.
To contact us online
You can also send us your questions and notifications directly online:
- Specific questions relating to workers posted to Switzerland, or cross-border commuters who are moving permanently to Switzerland, should be addressed to our specialists in international customer service: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pensioners who have newly moved to Switzerland and continue to draw a pension exclusively from another EU or EFTA country should contact the Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG directly if they have any questions.
- In all other cases please use our Contact form for general queries and notifications.
Would you like to talk with someone face-to-face?
You can find our branch offices in all large towns and cities in Switzerland. We look forward to meeting you in one of our sales offices close to you.