Health Care in Switzerland

The Swiss Health System

Who is covered?

Coverage is universal, with residents mandated under the 1996 Federal Health Insurance Law to purchase statutory health insurance (SHI) from competing insurers. There are virtually no uninsured residents. Every individual intending to reside in Switzerland is required, within three months of arrival, to take out an insurance policy, which is then applied retroactively to the arrival date. Since only those with valid residence of more than three months can take out SHI policies, the problem of undocumented immigrants remains unresolved. SHI typically applies to the individual. It is not sponsored by employers, and dependents must purchase separate policies. Many residents also purchase complementary and supplementary voluntary health insurance (VHI) for coverage of services not covered under the basic package, for free choice of hospital doctor, or for improved accommodation (e.g., an individual or twin room instead of a shared room) when hospitalized.

For more information, read a Commonwealth Fund Profile of the Swiss Health Care System.

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