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Andrey Vasilyev

Living in Switzerland, from Russia

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Living in Switzerland, from Sweden

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Health and Insurance in Switzerland

Every expat wants to know that they’ll be taken care of, should they need medical help in their new home country. The InterNations guide on health and insurance gives expats an overview of the Swiss healthcare system, while also providing them with help and advice on whom to see and when. Don’t worry — you’re in safe hands in Switzerland.

You’ll be happy to hear that the Swiss healthcare system is one of the most advanced in the world. The extensive list of specialists available will ensure that, no matter what the problem is, you’ll be treated by a specially trained professional, hopefully without having to travel too far. However, this high-quality medical system does come at a cost. Switzerland’s medical system is not funded by tax. Instead everyone must have, at the very least, a basic health insurance policy to cover general checkups and emergencies. But, as the name suggests, a basic policy only really covers the basics, so many expats choose to add complementary policies to their health insurance, to ensure that they are covered for all kinds of medical matters.

The Healthcare System: From Pharmacists to Doctors

You’re never too far away from a pharmacy in Switzerland — some are even open round the clock, should you have an emergency during the night. For roughly a third of all medicines available in Switzerland, you’ll need a prescription and for those that you can buy over the counter, you’ll be paying a hefty price, so may want to stock up before moving to Switzerland. Unless it’s an emergency, you normally need a referral from your doctor to go to the hospital in Switzerland, so, given that your family doctor will be your main port of call if you feel poorly, make sure you find a doctor that you trust.

It’s a (Wo)man’s world…

Good news — pregnancy care, giving birth, and general women’s health checkups will all be covered by your basic health insurance policy. The cover is slightly restricted, and so many women choose to add complementary health insurance policies to make sure they are well and truly covered for their intimate health issues. Abortion is legal in Switzerland and it, along with some forms of contraception, will be covered by a basic health insurance policy — not all forms of contraception are included, though, so check with your doctor before you decide. Finding a gynecologist that you trust can be daunting for expat women in Switzerland — just remember that word of mouth is key and you’ll soon find yourself in safe and capable hands.

InterNations Expat Magazine