Best health insurance in Switzerland in 2024

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Whether you are a Swiss resident, a French national working in Switzerland, or a Swiss resident not working (or unemployed) in Switzerland, it is compulsory to have health insurance to cover part of your healthcare costs.

How do basic and supplementary insurance work? Who can apply for a subsidy? How can I compare health insurance prices?

Discover our complete guide to health insurance in Switzerland and compare the best health insurance plans in 2024 to find the one that suits your profile.

Health insurance in Switzerland: 7 Key facts

  1. Basic health insurance is mandatory for all Swiss residents.
  2. All insurers offer the same basic cover.
  3. The complementary insurance allows you to extend your coverage.
  4. The application for subsidy is made to the canton of residence.
  5. The insured can choose the amount of the contract's franchise.
  6. Premiums will rise by 8.7% on average in 2024.
  7. The average monthly premium in 2023 was 334,70 CHF.

How does Swiss health insurance work?

Health insurance in Switzerland operates on a compulsory, universal system, with unique features compared to other countries. Here are the key points to remember to fully understand the Swiss healthcare system:

  • Mandatory for all residents: All Swiss residents must take out basic health insurance (LAMal) within three months of arriving in Switzerland.
  • Basic and supplementary insurance: Basic insurance covers standard medical treatment, including doctor's visits, certain hospital treatments, and some medication. Optional complementary insurance offers more extensive coverage, such as private hospital rooms or dental treatment.
  • Premiums and cost-sharing: Health insurance premiums vary depending on the insurance company, place of residence, and insurance model chosen. In addition to premiums, policyholders pay cost-sharing for certain services, including an annual deductible and a percentage of costs above the deductible.
  • Freedom of choice of insurer: Residents can choose their health insurer from a large number of private companies. Insurers cannot refuse basic coverage on the grounds of a person's state of health.
  • Health insurance subsidies: Low-income earners can benefit from subsidies to help pay their health insurance premiums.

Watch out!

After the 3-month deadline, if you have not yet taken out basic health insurance with a listed insurer, the cantonal administration will automatically assign you an insurer.

The benefits covered by LaMal are highly regulated. This means that all insurers offer the same basic coverage, regardless of canton, insurance company, or price. Pick the cheapest health insurance, as the benefits reimbursed are the same for all.

Health insurance vs loss of earnings insurance: What's the difference?

Health insurance in Switzerland covers medical and health expenses, while loss-of-earnings insurance provides financial compensation in the event of incapacity for work due to illness or accident, replacing part of the income lost during this period.

Health insurance subsidy: How does it work?

Beneficiaries of health insurance subsidies

Health insurance subsidies in Switzerland are designed to help low-income individuals and families pay their health insurance premiums. Here are the general criteria for qualifying for these subsidies:

  1. Residence in Switzerland: To be eligible, you must be a resident of Switzerland and registered with a commune.
  2. Income and wealth: Eligibility depends mainly on household income and wealth. Eligibility ceilings vary from canton to canton.
  3. Family situation: Household composition, including the number of children, can affect eligibility and the amount of the subsidy.
  4. Compulsory health insurance: Only people insured for compulsory basic coverage (LAMal) can apply for subsidies.
  5. No third-party coverage: People whose premiums are already covered by a third party (such as certain employers) are generally not eligible.

Good to know

Even if you're eligible for one year, you often have to renew your application every year, as eligibility can change depending on your financial and family situation.

Some people benefit directly from health insurance grants that fully cover their health insurance premiums. These include :

  • Persons receiving a supplementary OASI/DI pension (AVS/AI)
  • Persons receiving social assistance (aide sociale)

How to apply for a health insurance subsidy?

The procedure for applying for a health insurance subsidy in Switzerland varies depending on the canton in which you live, as each canton manages its subsidy system.

Eligibility limits vary from canton to canton: In most cantons, if your financial situation qualifies for the subsidy, you will automatically receive a certificate by post. If not, you will need to apply to your canton for a health insurance subsidy.

Your health insurance company collects the subsidies and deducts them from your premium. This assistance only concerns compulsory health insurance, not supplementary health insurance.

Here is the application procedure for a few representative cantons:

CantonSubsidies departmentApplication procedure
Geneva subsidy
Health Insurance Service (SAM)Fill in the application form available on the cantonal website or from SASH.
Vaud subsidy
Vaud Health Insurance Office (OVAM)Use the online or paper form provided by SAS.
Fribourg subsidy
Cantonal Compensation Office (AVS)Fill in the form available on the canton's website or from the social action department.
Valais subsidy
Cantonal Social Insurance Office (OCAS)Complete the application form provided by SCAS, available online or on request.
Neuchâtel subsidy
Supplementary Benefits Service (SPC)Use the form available on the SPC website or request it directly from the department.
Health insurance subsidy application procedure by canton

Good to know

On the websites of most cantonal funds, it is possible to run an online simulation to directly assess your entitlement to a subsidy, and apply if necessary.

Why should you compare health insurance providers in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, all insurers are required by law to offer the same basic coverage to all policyholders. So what's the point of comparing health insurers? Simply because insurers apply different mutualization calculations, and the health insurance price can vary according to different criteria :

  • Your zip code
  • Your age and family situation
  • The franchise you want
  • The model of insurance chosen
  • The accident coverage or not an option

Some insurers may therefore be more advantageous than others when it comes to health insurance premiums. As insurers differ not only in price but also in features:

  • Additional benefits: additional services and prevention programs, reimbursements for special care, etc.
  • Service quality: customer service quality, efficient claims management, and easy access to healthcare providers.
  • Care network: privileged access to certain networks of healthcare providers, such as specific doctors or hospitals.

Good to know

By comparing health insurance offers, you can subscribe for cheaper health insurance. Using our free comparator at the top of the page, you can - among other criteria - compare health insurance by canton.

What are health insurance premiums in Switzerland in 2024?

Basic insurance premium

Here is a summary table of the premiums proposed in 2024 by the various cantons in Switzerland :

CantonHealth insurance premium in 2024
454,40 CHF
451,10 CHF
430,10 CHF
417,20 CHF
406,90 CHF
400,80 CHF
388,60 CHF
367 CHF
360 CHF
351,60 CHF
350,40 CHF
339,40 CHF
334,50 CHF
332,70 CHF
322,60 CHF
St. Gallen
317,80 CHF
314,50 CHF
314,10 CHF
Appenzell Ausserrhoden
314 CHF
307,30 CHF
306 CHF
297,50 CHF
296,30 CHF
288,50 CHF
271,90 CHF
Appenzell Innerrhoden
246,10 CHF
Health insurance cost or premiums by Swiss canton in 2024

Good to know

In 2024, Swiss health insurance premiums rose by an average of 8.7%.

What is the cost of supplementary health insurance?

Premiums for supplementary insurance in Switzerland vary considerably. Here are the main elements that influence the cost of supplementary insurance :

  • The extent of coverage: Options such as dental coverage, hospital insurance (for semi-private or private rooms), and alternative medicine insurance.
  • Age and state of health: Some supplementary insurance plans require a medical examination before acceptance.
  • Choosing the Insurer: As with basic insurance, premiums vary from insurer to insurer.
  • Region of residence: Your zip code can influence the premium amount.
  • Deductible: The deductible chosen can affect the cost of the premium, with higher deductibles generally leading to lower premiums.
  • Discounts: Some insurers offer discounts for families, non-smokers, or those involved in health or fitness programs.

As an example, here is a price comparison table for basic insurance and supplementary insurance in Switzerland for a single person in their thirties with an annual deductible of 1,000 CHF :

Swiss health insuranceCost of basic health insuranceCost basic health insurance + supplementary insurance combined
(hospitalization, dental, glasses, alternative medicine, drugs).
421 CHF / month608 CHF / month
425 CHF / month638 CHF / month
439 CHF / month628 CHF / month
443 CHF / month613 CHF / month
442 CHF / month656 CHF / month
479 CHF / month700 CHF / month
Health insurance prices in Switzerland in 2024

How do I cancel my Swiss health insurance?

To cancel your health insurance in Switzerland, you must follow a specific process, which depends on the type of contract (basic or supplementary insurance):

  • To cancel your basic insurance:
    • Cancellation must be made by November 30 of each year, to take effect on January 1 of the following year.
    • You must send a letter of cancellation to your insurer, ideally by registered post.
  • To terminate your supplementary insurance:
    • The notice period is often 3 months before the end of the contract, but this may vary depending on the contract.
    • As with basic insurance, send a cancellation letter by registered mail.

If you change health insurance companies, make sure you have a new policy in place before canceling your old one to avoid a period without coverage. Before the end of October, your health insurer must inform you of the amount of your premium for the coming year. If you are not satisfied with this amount, you still have the option of canceling your contract in good time.

Note that you can switch health insurers at any time, regardless of your health or age. Insurers must accept all applicants. What's more, you can choose to be insured with different health insurers for basic and supplementary insurance.

Health insurance with a deductible of 300 francs

In the special case of health insurance policies with a deductible of CHF 300, these policies can be terminated at the end of June with a 3-month notice period.

Health insurance co-payments: What do you have to pay?

Health insurance co-payments in Switzerland are the portion of healthcare costs that the insured must pay out-of-pocket before health insurance begins to cover costs. It is made up of three main components:

  1. The deductible
  2. The co-payment
  3. Contribution to hospitalization costs

These mechanisms are designed to share costs between the insured and the insurer and encourage responsible use of healthcare services. Here are the three components of cost sharing :

ComponentHealth insurance cost sharing in Switzerland
The deductible
The fixed amount payable by the insured, who chooses the amount from 300 CHF to 2,500 CHF.
The co-payment
Once the deductible has been reached, the insured pays a co-payment of 10% of the treatment costs, capped at 700 CHF per year for adults and 350 CHF for children, irrespective of the chosen deductible.
Contribution to hospitalization costs
In the event of hospitalization, the contribution amounts to 15 CHF per day of hospitalization.
Children under 18 and young adults in training under 25 are exempt from this contribution.
Health insurance cost-sharing in Switzerland

How much deductible should I choose?

The health insurance deductible is the amount that remains payable by the insured as a contribution to the cost of health care. It is only after this amount that the health insurance will take over the reimbursement. Swiss health insurance companies offer different deductible levels:

  • Deductibles for young adults and adults can vary from 300 CHF to 2,500 CHF.
  • Deductibles for minors range from 0 CHF to 600 CHF.

The lower the deductible, the higher your premium. To choose the best possible deductible, you need to take into account your age, your state of health, and your financial capabilities.

  • If you have frequent or anticipated medical expenses, a low deductible may be preferable.
  • If your medical visits are infrequent and you can cover higher costs when needed, opting for a higher deductible can reduce your monthly premiums.

Which health insurer is best for cross-border commuters?

Cross-border commuters who work in Switzerland and live in France can choose between the French or Swiss health insurance system.

You have a period of 3 months after your date of employment to inform the SAM of your choice of health insurance system as a cross-border commuter. If you do not exercise your right of option within the 3 months, you will be automatically affiliated with the Swiss health insurance system, subject to an administrative fee.

Watch out!

You will no longer be able to change your insurance system during the entire period of your activity in Switzerland and as long as you reside in France.

How do I get a health insurance refund in Switzerland?

In most cases, all you need to do is e-mail it to your health insurance company, but you can also send it by post, which will then calculate your reimbursement and send you the details. It is sometimes possible to obtain urgent reimbursement by calling your insurer directly.

But generally speaking, the reimbursement period will depend on each health insurance and each contract. As reimbursement terms vary more or less from one insurance company to another, it is important to compare health insurance policies by reading the general conditions.

Good to know

Reimbursement is made by full payment into the policyholder's account, usually within 2 weeks of receipt of the various invoices. The reimbursement statement will be sent to you within a few days.

Which health insurance model should I choose?

The insurance model determines the first point of contact in the event of a health issue (p. e.g. family doctor, health center, medical call center, or pharmacy). The benefits of compulsory basic insurance are identical whatever the model, but the cost of your insurance premium may be impacted. There are 4 different models:

  • The "basic" model or standard model, is offered by all insurers. It's based on the principle of free choice of doctor: in concrete terms, you can choose and consult your GP or specialist directly, without informing your health insurer in advance. This is the most expensive model.
  • The family doctor model: the first point of contact is the family doctor of your choice, who will refer you to a specialist. In concrete terms, for all medical consultations and emergencies, you must first consult your family doctor, who is responsible for your medical follow-up.
  • The HMO model: The Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) model is based on a specific network of healthcare providers affiliated with a health maintenance organization. Policyholders must consult a designated coordinating doctor (called a "gatekeeper"), often a general practitioner, before accessing specialists or other medical services.
  • The telemedicine model (Telmed): in the event of a health problem, you must first contact a medical advice center to obtain a telephone or video appointment with healthcare professionals who will give you recommendations for further action.

Here's a table summarizing the advantages of each of the 4 insurance models:

Health Insurance ModelBenefitsDisadvantages
Basic insurance
You can choose your own doctor
You can consult a specialist directly
Most expensive option
Family doctor
Premium reduction of up to 30%
You can keep your family doctor
No direct consultation with a specialist
Premium reduction of up to 30%
Doctor or locum always available
Access to many specialties
No direct consultation with a specialist
Proximity to an HMO practice varies according to your location
Telemedicine (Telmed)
Premium reductions of up to 20%
24-hour access
Savings on consultations.
Prior telephone interview mandatory before any physical appointment
Advantages and disadvantages of different health insurance models

Good to know

You can change doctors only if you move, if the doctor's practice closes, or if there has been a breach of trust between you and the family doctor.

How do I get the cheapest health insurance Switzerland plans?

To get the most affordable or cheapest health insurance plans in Switzerland, consider these four main points:

  1. Compare Providers: Actively compare different health insurance providers. Switzerland has a competitive health insurance market, so leverage our free HelloSafe comparison tool to analyze and contrast coverage options, premiums, and benefits.
  2. Opt for Basic Coverage: Stick to the mandatory basic health insurance (Grundversicherung) which covers essential medical care. It's standardized across all providers, so focus on finding the provider offering this basic coverage at the lowest cost.
  3. Higher Deductibles: Choose a plan with a higher deductible (Franchise). In Switzerland, opting for a higher deductible can significantly lower your monthly premiums. However, ensure it aligns with your healthcare needs and financial capability to pay out-of-pocket for initial medical expenses.
  4. Review and Adjust Annually: Swiss policyholders have the option to change their health insurance provider annually. Regularly review your health insurance plan and make adjustments or switch providers during the open enrollment period to ensure you always have the most cost-effective plan.
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Adeline Harmant

Adeline Harmant est une rédactrice financière expérimentée travaillant pour HelloSafe depuis 3 ans. Elle bénéficie d'une solide expérience de 15 ans en rédaction financière, ayant travaillé pour des sites financiers de renom. Adeline a acquis de solides compétences financières jusqu’à devenir une experte de la bancassurance, des marchés financiers, de la bourse mais également des crypto-monnaies.

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