Living in Basel?
Healthcare in the Basel Area
The Swiss Healthcare System
Everyone residing in Switzerland for longer than three months has to take out medical insurance, usually from a Swiss insurance provider. There are some exceptions to this legal obligation, e.g. for foreign students who attend a Swiss university. However, these cases probably won't apply to expats living and working in Basel. You thus have to decide upon a healthcare plan for you and your family within three months of arrival. Note that each family member has to be insured individually.
In Switzerland, everyone pays insurance premiums from their own pocket. In addition to these monthly contributions, you make a standardized co-payment of at least 300 CHF every year (so-called Franchise). Furthermore, you have to pay 10% of the cost for all treatments, diagnostic exams, and prescription drugs, up to an annual amount of 700 CHF. How much you require for your monthly healthcare contributions depends on two factors: your insurance provider and the kind of policy you choose.
You can find even more information on the options available in our article on hospitals and doctors in Switzerland.
Types of Medical Insurance: Which Fits You Best?
Every resident of Switzerland has a basic healthcare plan. No insurance company may refuse you this kind of insurance policy, no matter which pre-existing conditions you have. Basic medical insurance covers most standard treatments, both at the doctor's and at public hospitals in your canton. You can always choose your hospital freely. However, a basic plan might not cover all costs for stays at non-local hospitals, unless your choice of clinic was medically necessary.
Most people in Switzerland take out supplementary insurance if they can afford it. In this case, insurance providers will insist on a health check. They can exclude treatment for certain illnesses or refuse you on medical grounds. Insurance premiums also differ according to the age and gender of the patient. Top-up insurance plans reimburse the costs for dental care, glasses, additional medication, or some privileges at hospitals (e.g. treatment by the clinic's leading physician).
Learn more about the high quality services on offer in our article about health insurance in Switzerland.
Local Emergency Numbers
Hopefully, you will stay happy and healthy during your expat life in Basel. However, in case of a medical emergency, here are some phone numbers that everybody should know:
- 112 (general emergencies)
- 117 (police)
- 118 (fire department)
- 144 (ambulance)
- 061 261 1515 (emergency service for doctors, dentists, and pharmacies)
- 0900 99 33 99 (emergency service for veterinarians)
There is also an after-hours pharmacy in central Basel, close to the University Hospital. The Notfallapotheke Basel is open between 17:00 and 08:00 from Monday to Friday, from 16:00 onwards on Saturday, and 24/7 on Sunday and all public holidays.
Discover more information regarding services available in our article on pharmacies in Switzerland.
The Best Medical Services
Quality standards in Basel's medical facilities are good to excellent. The cantons Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft provide a variety of services. Local clinics specialize, for example, in geriatric medicine, dentistry, orthopedy, psychiatry, physical therapy and restorative heath, as well as palliative care. The most important general hospitals and walk-in clinics in the Basel area include:
As you can see from the websites linked above, the main language in Basel's hospitals is German. However, doctors usually have decent English skills, and some will be able to speak French, too. If you feel worried about the language barrier, you should ask for a referral to Basel's University Hospital. It features an international patient service. As far as finding a physician is concerned, you can search for family doctors and specialists via the multi-lingual website doctor.ch.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.