Overview of insurance products

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here you will find answers to questions that are frequently asked by immigrants.

Do I definitely need to have Swiss health insurance? I still have private insurance in my home country.

In Switzerland, as in most European countries, health insurance is compulsory. In accordance with Article 3 of the Swiss Federal Health Insurance Act (KVG) healthcare insurance as defined by the KVG is compulsory for all persons resident in Switzerland. This insurance covers the basic needs in the event of illness, accidents and maternity, and is therefore known as compulsory basic insurance.

So if you are new to living in Switzerland, you must take out health insurance in Switzerland.

Do I have to comply with a specific registration deadline for health insurance?

Yes; after moving to Switzerland, you must register with a health insurer of your choice for compulsory basic insurance within three months. This registration period begins on the day you register with the residents registration office (issue date of the confirmation of residence or residents' permit).

Why do I still have to pay extra insurance premiums even though I met the deadline?

After immigrating to Switzerland you have up to three months to register for the basic insurance. However, to ensure that there are no gaps in insurance cover, the compulsory basic insurance begins from the date you arrive in Switzerland.

It is therefore irrelevant whether you register for the basic insurance straight away on the day you arrive or only 3 weeks or 2 months later; your insurance cover applies retroactively from your date of arrival. As a result the insurance premium is payable retroactively as of this date.

However, if you miss the 3-month registration deadline your insurance cover will no longer begin retroactively but only from your actual date of joining. Moreover, if the deadline was missed without good reason, a supplementary premium will also be payable. Further information is set out in Article 5 of the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance (KVG).

Do I pay a lower premium if I didn't arrive in the country until the middle of a month?

Insurance cover in the compulsory basic insurance begins on the exact date you move to Switzerland, so in your case in the middle of the month. This means that the insurance premium will only be calculated from this date.

In this context please also note Article 5.1 of our Terms and conditions of insurance for the compulsory basic insurance BASIS (PDF, 47KB) .

Can I defer the starting date of my insurance? Otherwise I'd be insured twice over, as my foreign health insurance is still running.

For legal reasons, it is not possible to defer the start date of compulsory basic insurance in Switzerland – and therefore the commencement of premium payments. This is the case even if your foreign health insurance is still valid for some time.

However, if you had a statutory rather than a private health insurance policy in your previous country of residence, it will automatically expire when you move to Switzerland and start working here.

My family and I were previously insured together. Is this also the case in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, the per-capita premium system applies. This means that a health insurance premium is charged for every person, irrespective of their age or marital status.

So if you settle in Switzerland with your family, you must register each family member for compulsory health insurance with a health insurance company of your choice, and pay the corresponding insurance premium for each family member.

Can I continue going to my dentist in my home country?

If you take out DENTAplus dental insurance, you can continue to receive dental treatment in your country of origin because the benefits provided under DENTAplus apply worldwide. This is subject to the condition that the foreign dentist has equivalent qualifications to dentists in Switzerland, and that the costs of the treatment are not higher than for the same treatment in Switzerland..

Without DENTAplus dental insurance, however, a visit to the dentist abroad is not insured because, with the exception of accident-related damage, the compulsory basic insurance does not reimburse dental treatments (and certainly not abroad).

Can I have an operation carried out in my home country? It costs less there.

If you have only taken out compulsory basic insurance, you can only have an operation carried out in Switzerland, and only in those clinics and hospitals that are on the cantonal hospital lists or the Helsana Group list of KVG contract hospitals. Only costs up to the rate of your canton of residence will be covered. This means that if you choose a hospital outside the canton with a higher tariff and have not taken out any corresponding supplementary hospital insurance, you have to pay any costs in excess of this amount.

If you specifically want to travel abroad to have a particular operation carried out, you need supplementary hospital insurance. For example, with the HOSPITAL ECO policy you will receive up to CHF 500 per day for every day in hospital abroad (for up to 60 days per year). Our other HOSPITAL insurance policies reimburse even higher amounts for treatment carried out abroad.

Am I covered by my Swiss health insurer if I go abroad?

If you have to make an emergency visit to a hospital or doctor during a temporary stay in an EU or EFTA country, you must present your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). In this case the costs incurred abroad are covered by your Swiss basic insurance.

More information on health insurance cover for temporary visits to an EU/EFTA member state

Details on each EU/EFTA member state are available here

If you require hospital treatment outside the EU/EFTA, you can claim the costs up to double the amount that the same treatment would cost in Switzerland. However, in some countries (e.g. the USA, Canada or Japan), this is far less than what you will be expected to pay. For travel outside Europe, we therefore recommend that you take out COMPLETA supplementary insurance. This insurance covers all costs of medically necessary emergency, outpatient and inpatient treatment during visits abroad for up to 12 months.

Why do I have to complete a health declaration for the insurance application if the basic insurance is compulsory?

Swiss health insurers are obliged by law to accept all applicants for the compulsory basic health insurance, irrespective of age, gender and state of health. A health check is therefore not required to take out basic insurance.

However, this is not the case for voluntary supplementary insurance (e.g. for alternative medicine, dental treatment or hospital stays). Here the health insurers normally carry out a risk assessment for all applicants. This is why a health declaration always has to be completed along with the application form for supplementary insurance.

So we only request a health declaration from you if you have applied for one or more supplementary insurance policies alongside your basic insurance.

Why should I choose the Helsana Group?

With around 1.9 million policyholders and over 3,000 staff the Helsana Group is the leading health and accident insurer in Switzerland and so offers the highest level of security and peace of mind for its policyholders.

With 22 general agencies and 19 points of sale we are close to our customers throughout Switzerland. Click here to find your nearest sales office.

We have an extensive network of first-rate business and healthcare partners such as doctors' networks and partner clinics. Thanks to our various co-operation partners, Helsana Group policyholders can obtain advice by telephone on medical questions and have medicines delivered to their homes simply and cheaply.