Health insurance in Switzerland for settled-in expats
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Health insurance in Switzerland for settled-in expats

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As an expat who’s lived in Switzerland for some time, you’ve no doubt already come to grips with the Swiss health insurance system. But every day’s a school day! Perhaps you’ll find some information and tips here that you don’t already know.

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What’s the difference between basic and supplementary health insurance?

In Switzerland, you’re obliged by law to take out basic health insurance, while supplementary health insurance is voluntary.

What’s more, all health insurers offer the same benefits for basic insurance, whereas they are free to choose which benefits they offer with their supplementary insurance plans.

Good to know: before you can take out supplementary insurance, you have to answer health questions truthfully and in full. The health insurer then decides whether to accept your application, accept it with a restriction or reject it.


What supplementary health insurance plans are available?

The solutions offered include supplementary hospital insurance plans for the general, semiprivate or private ward, supplementary insurance for preventive care, alternative medicine or dental treatment, and supplementary insurance in case of disability and death.


Do I need supplementary health insurance?

It’s up to you whether you want to take out supplementary insurance.

Good to know: basic health insurance includes the most important benefits for illness, accident and maternity – but it doesn’t cover everything. If you want to close these gaps, you have to take out supplementary health insurance.

And don’t forget: the younger you are – and the fewer health problems you have – the better your chances of being accepted for supplementary insurance.


When can I switch health insurer?

You can change your basic health insurance with effect by 1 January – this date is the same for all health insurance companies.

But remember that your current insurer must receive your notice of termination by 30 November at the latest for the termination to be valid. If you’ve chosen an insurance model with a free choice of doctor and the lowest deductible (CHF 300), you can also switch basic health insurance with effect from 1 July.

Deadlines for terminating supplementary health insurance vary depending on your health insurer. So please check with your current insurer.


What should you look out for when choosing new health insurance?


Customer satisfaction

How does your insurer compare with other health insurance companies in customer satisfaction surveys? You can use the, kTipp or platforms to find out.

Customer service

Ask friends or acquaintances to rate the customer service they receive from their health insurer.

Online tools

Does the health insurer offer online services and apps to help you manage your insurance affairs?

Response time

How quickly does the insurer respond to queries? How quickly are invoices that you submit reimbursed?

Cost coverage

Which costs are covered by supplementary insurance? Does it include gym membership, alternative medicine, transport, rescue operations. psychotherapy or vision aids? You can see which benefits are covered by supplementary insurance in the general terms of insurance and supplementary terms of your health insurance company.


Why does my monthly premium keep getting more expensive?

The premium is calculated based on your place of residence, chosen insurance model and your deductible.

In addition, the premium depends on how many benefits all insured persons claim each year, which means that if healthcare costs rise, premiums will also be higher the following year.


I’ve made a mistake. Can I change my deductible?

The deductible can always be changed on January 1 of the following year. So you have to make the change by 30 November of the current year at the latest.

Our tip: the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. If you rarely go to the doctor, you’ll usually be better off choosing a high deductible. Ask your health insurer how to change your deductible.


Money-saving tips

As mentioned above, you can save money by increasing your deductible. However, there are other ways to cut costs:

  • Choose an alternative model for basic insurance

  • Exclude accident cover (if you work more than eight hours a week for the same employer)

  • Opt for generics instead of original drugs

  • Pay your health insurance premiums in advance (for the year or six months)

  • Medgate, Sanitas’ partner, provides free medical advice around-the-clock. This helps you avoid expensive emergency costs, especially late at night or on weekends.



💡 Our tip

Sanitas customers manage their insurance affairs in record time.

For example, you can use the Sanitas Portal – online or via the app – to change your deductible quickly and easily. And you can submit invoices for reimbursement digitally by taking a photo of a document with your smartphone camera and uploading it in the Portal.


Any questions?

We’ll be happy to help you choose the right health insurance for you. 

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