Health care in Switzerland is universal, meaning it covers all members of society. The health care system is world-class and life expectancy is 79.4 years for men and 84.2 years for women - among the highest in the world.
Spending on health care is also very high and always increasing. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is responsible for promoting and maintaining the good health of all people living in Switzerland.
The Swiss health care system is one of the best in the world. There is an extensive network of hospitals and doctors, waiting lists are short, and the latest technology is available. These services are also some of the most expensive in the world, and the many facets of the insurance scheme help defray cost to the patient.
Health care in Switzerland is privately run, although the government decrees that by law all citizens must be covered by a basic package of health care services. A basic package includes treatment for illness or accident and pregnancy with each person covering part of their treatment themselves. Patients are free to choose their own doctor and have unlimited access to specialists.
Access to doctors and specialists is provided for with even basic insurance. Determine what kind of doctor you need. A General Practitioner (G.P.) is usually called Arzt für Allgemeinmedizin or Praktischer Arzt. People usually go here first as they prescribe drugs, treat acute and chronic illnesses, and provide preventive care and health education. If they need additional assistance or specialized care, they may receive an "Ueberweisung" (referral) to a specialist or consultant (Facharzt). It is also possible to see a specialist first if you decide to contact them first. Specialist fields include gynecology, oncology, pediatrics and dermatology
Citizens can register with the doctor of their choice. Private doctors take care of most outpatient treatment. Waiting times are generally very short and people usually make an advance appointment. There is usually a longer waiting period to see a consultant.
Doctors (German: Arzt/ French: Medicin) can be found in the Yellow Pages under Allgemeine Medizin or médecin généraliste. You can also look for recommendations among friends and acquaintances, or ask for recommendations on forums. There is also a helpful website to locate doctors: http://www.doktor.ch/or
http://www.medregom.admin.ch/. If you need a doctor that speaks your native language, contact your embassy or consulate as they can often provide a list.
All treatment is paid by the patient or their insurance company and fees are extremely high. Swiss doctors and hospitals send a bill for their treatment, which must be paid within 30 days. You must submit the bill to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Non-residents without sufficient insurance coverage will have to pay a deposit once admitted to hospital. This is usually between CHF 2000 to 10,000.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Zurich is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Switzerland. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Switzerland: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Switzerland, visit our partner APRIL International