Healthcare in Switzerland

Switzerland’s healthcare system is often hailed as one of, if not the best in the world. Switzerland is renowned throughout Europe for its high quality paramedic and medical services. The Swiss government spends up to 10% of the nation’s Gross domestic product on health care making it one of the biggest healthcare spenders. This considerable investment means that Switzerland is home to a wealth of medical facilities, the most advanced medical technology and one of the world’s lowest to patient-to-doctor ratios on the planet.

Health Insurance

Because of the vast expenditure on healthcare everyone living in the country is required by law to have basic health insurance cover. Expats and other non-Swiss nationals must obtain health insurance within the first three months of their arrival into the country. Individuals are responsible for arranging their own health insurance.   Several public and private insurance companies are available, but it is usually necessary to register with one of the state-run Swiss insurance companies. In many cases, Swiss insurance authorities do not accept global health insurance even if the policy states that it covers medical care in Switzerland. Each member of a household must be individually insured as family members are not automatically covered by one family member’s membership.

Basic cover is CHF 351.05 per month for an adult and CHF 84.03 for a child.  For the basic plan, the insured pays up to 8% of their income.

In some cases, you may be exempted from taking out health insurance in Switzerland, for example:

If you have an obligatory health insurance scheme in your home country that covers the same medical cost as the basic insurance scheme during your stay in Switzerland.

If you’re in Switzerland due to an exchange or other international program, (i.e. for students, interns and scientists). In this case, your institution or employer has to guarantee that all your medical costs during your stay in Switzerland are reimbursed and has to pay all expenses not covered by an insurance scheme.

If you’ve been sent to Switzerland for a limited time by a foreign company.

If you’re a diplomat or employed by an international organization.

Private healthcare

As well as boasting one of the best public healthcare systems in the world Switzerland also has a huge private sector. Geneva and Zurich are especially popular with wealthy international patients seeking health advice and expert treatment. Private healthcare is very expensive and is not usually covered by health insurance, instead relying on other forms of payment. Due to the large number of international patients using the private sector most staff at private medical facilities speak English.


If you ever find yourself in need of emergency assistance in Switzerland you should call either 144 for an ambulance or 117 for the police and 118 for the fire department. You can also call for an air ambulance depending on the severity of your situation by dialling 1414 or +41333333333 from a foreign mobile phone.