What happens if you get sick during your studies in Switzerland? Don’t worry, you will be in good hands. Switzerland has not only one of the best healthcare systems but also a reliable health insurance system. Thanks to that, you won’t have any problems when it comes to paying a medical bill.
What do you need to know?
The health insurance provides you with cover for illness, accidents and maternity. Insurance providers must treat everyone equally, making no distinction based on state of health or age.
As an insured person, you have to pay a monthly contribution (premium) and your contribution to costs (excess, retention fee, contribution to the costs of hospital stay).
And you have free choice of insurer. Check the different insurers and options on CH.CH.
Important: For anyone living or working in Switzerland, having a health insurance policy is mandatory. However, as an international student, special provisions might apply to you, and depending on your situation, an exemption is possible.
What do you have to do?
Clarify your situation immediately after taking up residency in Switzerland. If you are entitled to an exemption, make a request for exemption within three months. If you are not entitled to an exemption, choose your insurer.
… a non-employed student from an EU/EFTA country and legally insured with health insurance:
You are exempted from the insurance obligation if you
- are only temporary in Switzerland and have your primary domicile in the EU/EFTA, or
- have your place of residence in Switzerland and are insured by your parents in the EU/EFTA through family insurance.
… an employed student or trainee from Germany, France, Italy or Austria and legally insured with health insurance:
You may be exempted from compulsory insurance if you
- have a short-term residence permit L, or
- have a residence permit B and declare your primary domicile in one of the mentioned states above.
… an employed student or trainee from one of the other countries of the EU/EFTA:
You are subject to compulsory insurance in Switzerland.
… a student of a non EU/EFTA country and privately insured:
You could be exempted from the compulsory insurance in Switzerland if you have an equivalent insurance, according to the Health Insurance Act (KVG). An exemption is possible for three years at the most. On request, you can extend it for a further three years. Afterwards, you will automatically fall under the compulsory health insurance in Switzerland.
Together with your request for exemption, you have to supply some documents to the office in your canton (some cantons charge a fee for the request):
- copy of the residence permit in Switzerland
- copy of the insurance policy: (legal insurance: EHIC (European Health Insurance Card); private insurance: confirmation of the insurer)
- copy of the confirmation of enrolment or confirmation of education
- copy of the internship contract/employment contract
If an exemption is not possible, here are some tips to reduce costs when taking out a health insurance:
- Take out an international student healthcare insurance which is recognized in Switzerland (e.g. Swisscare).
- Join a special treatment plan: HMO model, general practitioner model…
- Increase your fixed annual limit of your contribution to costs: this results in lower premiums.
- If your yearly income does not exceed a certain threshold, you are eligible for reductions in your healthcare premiums. The office in your canton will provide you with the necessary information for applying for the reduction.
- And last but not least: don’t forget to cancel your health insurance three months prior to leaving Switzerland.
If you need assistance, contact the mobility office at your institution.