How does Swiss healthcare work and what will it cost you
The EHCI (EuroHealth Consumer Index) reports that Switzerland’s healthcare expenditure is the second highest among all European countries. This is very good news but how does this Swiss healthcare system precisely work? Also, what kind of costs can one expect living in Switzerland?
The Swiss healthcare system is paid for by the individual contributions to a Swiss health insurance of one’s own choice. There are currently 52 Swiss insurance companies with different competitive rates to choose from and you can switch on a yearly basis. The Swiss healthcare system is universal but administered by individual cantons. Everyone residing in Switzerland must have a basic health and accident insurance (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country). Each family member must be insured individually. Children don’t need to be insured by the same company as their parents. So, what kind of costs and services can one expect in this obligatory basic health insurance?
In 2017, an adult pays an average of CHF 447 a month on Swisshealth insurance (Valais stays under that with an average of CHF 394 a month). The monthly premiums rate depends on different factors such as someone’s age, canton of residence, choice of insurer and the deductible excess rate.
The deductible excess rate (commonly referred to as ‘franchise’) is the amount someone has to pay towards their treatment on a yearly basis. Only after this amount has been reached, the insurance company starts to pay someone out. One can choose his own deductible excess amount that is between CHF 300 up to CHF 2,500 per year. The lower the deductible excess rate, the higher the monthly premium rate. However, children up to 18years do not pay an deductible excess rate.
Even after the deductible has been exceeded, one still has to pay 10% of any treatment costs. However, this charge, often referred to as a “retention fee”, amounts to a maximum each year of CHF 700 for adults and CHF 350 for children.
The hospital contribution amounts to CHF 15 per day spent at the hospital. Children, young adults in education or training and women whose maternity benefits are fully covered do not pay any hospital contribution. By contributing to this basic health care system, a person is (usually) covered up to 90% for any doctor/treatment costs. In rare occasions a doctor prescribes a treatment that is not covered by the basic health insurance. The doctor should inform you about this but you can always check with your health insurance company in case of doubt. Sometimes these alternative medications or treatments are still covered by a complementary health insurance.
WHAT IS A COMPLEMENTARY HEALTH INSURANCE?
Apart from the obligatory basic cover, it is possible to take out an optional supplementary private health insurance at an extra cost from the same or separate insurer. Benefits vary from policy to policy but may include orthodontic treatment, contact lenses, own choice of doctor when you need treatment in hospitals, and stays in a private or semi-private hospital rooms. The more benefits you get, the higher the premium. Companies can refuse to insure you or refuse or terminate the policy if you give incomplete or inaccurate information. In case you need more support on this matter, our services don’t stop at the search for your mountain-property in Valais, we go further and can direct you to a insurance specialist that can help you choose the best health-care insurance for your personal needs and stay cost-effective on a yearly basis.
Sources: Health power house