How does healthcare work in Switzerland

How does healthcare work in Switzerland

The Healthcare system in Switzerland is one of the most reputed and the best in the world. Around 280 hospitals are accommodating 40,000 patients on an annual basis. The healthcare system combines public, subsidized private, and completely private. This healthcare system creates an extensive network of qualified doctors and hospitals. It has the best-equipped medical facilities with no waiting list. So let’s understand how does healthcare work in Switzerland.

Overview of Switzerland’s healthcare system

The healthcare system in Switzerland is universal as well as of high standard. People in Switzerland must hold basic health and accident insurance for the treatment. The Healthcare system is not tax-based by employers, unlike in other European countries. It is paid by the individual through contributions to Swiss health insurance schemes. Generally, people top up the basic cover with supplementary private health insurance. Switzerland has one of the largest private healthcare sectors in the world.

Healthcare costs in Switzerland

Switzerland has the most costly healthcare system in the world. About 12% of the GDP costs amount to healthcare here. Only US spends 17% of its GDP on healthcare more than Switzerland. This ranking is from 37 members of the Organization for Economic Corporation and Development.

Switzerland patients pay up to 8% of their income towards basic insurance plans. If the premium is more than 8% of income government provides a cash subsidy to cover the difference. The residents with low income are eligible for a reduction in insurance premiums.

Insurance here doesn’t pay for all healthcare costs. Patients have to pay a part of the cost of their medical treatment. Each patient has an annual deductible that ranges from 300 to 2500 Swiss Francs. Patients have to pay the set deductible before opting for insurance coverage. Patients are even responsible for covering 10% of the costs for medical appointments. The co-payment cap is 700 Francs yearly.

According to the latest figures, the costs of health care are higher and it increases every year. The reason is the growing economy – if more money is available then more can be spent on healthcare.

Is healthcare free in Switzerland?

Switzerland doesn’t have any government or free-cost hospitals but all private here. They have made it mandatory for all citizens to have basic health insurance. This insurance guarantees the best healthcare services to its citizens.

How good is the Switzerland healthcare system?

The Healthcare system is 1st of 31 countries in the World Index of Healthcare Innovation. It has a score of 59.56 ahead of second-ranked Germany and third-ranked the Netherlands.

What happens if you don’t have health insurance in Switzerland?

If you fail to buy health insurance by 3 months deadline then the local authority will sign up for a plan. When you opt for this plan it means you pay higher premiums.

Basic health insurance in Switzerland

There are approximately 60 registered health insurance companies in Switzerland. Each of these companies offers the same benefits in the basic insurance policies. Companies have to accept any applicant who applies for the insurance. Regardless of their pre-existing health conditions. You are free to choose the insurer and can even change the company once a year with prior notice. The largest health insurance companies in Switzerland are Allianz care and Cigna Global.

The basic insurance policy covers:

  • Out-patient treatment by recognized doctors
  • Emergency treatment
  • A contribution to transport/rescue expenses
  • Medicines prescribed by a doctor which is on the official list
  • Maternity check-ups, tests, ante-natal classes, childbirth
  • Abortions and gynecological check-ups
  • Vaccinations
  • Rehabilitation after operation or illness
  • medical treatment when you are out of Switzerland for short trips.
  • Alternate therapies like homeopathy, Chinese medicine, and psychotherapy if offered in medical practice.

All the family members must be insured on an individual basis. Babies have insurance from birth. To continue the cover you must take the health insurance for the child within three months of birth. Children do not need to have insurance from the same company as their parents. Once the child turns 18 they are responsible for their health insurance payments.

Private healthcare in Switzerland

You can take optional supplementary health insurance. This is possible by paying extra costs from the same or different insurer. You get to choose the amount of coverage you have with private insurance. The greater the level of coverage, the higher the premium. Though the benefits vary from policy to policy and it includes:

  • orthodontic treatment
  • spectacles/contact lenses
  • choice of a doctor when you need treatment in hospitals
  • stays in a private or semi-private hospital ward

Major innovations and reforms in the healthcare system

  • As per the 2020 strategy national priorities, objectives, and 36 different measures are:
  • improving the quality of life
  • promoting equal opportunity and self-responsibility
  • ensuring and enhancing the quality of care
  • creating more transparency, better governance, and closer coordination.

Switzerland has a high density of nurses within the OECD. There are 17 nurses per thousand people. If you need to see a doctor or visit the hospital the healthcare system is an easy and comfortable process here.