The compulsory health insurance system guarantees access to a range of quality medical care services and appropriate medical treatment to all persons living in Switzerland. Any person domiciled in Switzerland must insure him/herself or be insured by his/her legal representative within three months of his/her taking up domicile or his/her birth. Foreign nationals are required to insure themselves if they are holders of a valid residence permit with a duration of at least three months or if their authorisation to enter into paid employment has a duration of less than three months. Health insurance is managed by a range of insurers: authorised schemes must accept for basic insurance all persons subject to the obligation to insure themselves, regardless of their age and state of health, without any reservations or delay.
The insurance excess is the annual amount charged directly to the insured person and up to that amount the insurer does not refund any expenses. Beyond that amount, the insured person has to pay a part of the cost. This corresponds to a percentage fixed by law (10%) however the ceiling is established every year. The insurer therefore pays for any expenses exceeding the amount of the excess, after deducting the part paid for by the insured person. The amount of the excess is taken into account in determining the insured person's premium: the higher the excess, the lower the premium. However regardless of the excess, entitlement to benefits remains the same. The excess options are: 500, 1000, 1500, 2000 and 2500 CHF for adults and 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 CHF for children.
How to proceed
Insured persons are free to choose an insurance scheme. The cover is the same regardless of the health insurance scheme which provides your basic insurance cover. Foreign nationals covered by a foreign insurance scheme may apply for exemption from the Swiss schemes provided their insurance also covers them on Swiss territory. The application must be sent to the Cantonal Control Agency for Health and Accident Insurance:
Organe Cantonal de Contrôle
Chemin de Mornex 40
Case postale 9716
Phone: +41 (0)21 557 47 47
Fax: +41 (0)21 557 47 50
Third-party Liability Insurance
Although it is not compulsory, third-party liability insurance may prove useful during your stay in Switzerland. This is a kind of insurance that covers insured persons against any claims for damages made by third parties on the basis of legal provisions governing third-party liability (material damage and/or personal injury).
In some cases, you are required to take out a particular third-party liability insurance cover. Thus, in Switzerland, it is compulsory for all vehicle owners to have third-party liability insurance for motor vehicles, and if you are a tenant or a home owner you must take out a specific third-party liability guarantee policy.
In the Canton of Vaud, as in 18 other Swiss cantons, the State has established a public safety organisation that has the task of preventing disasters, organising the fire fighting service and compensating victims. If you are domiciled in the Canton of Vaud, you must insure your furniture with ECA (établissement cantonal d'assurance - Cantonal Insurance Agency) against fire and natural disasters. ECA guarantees the replacement or refurbishing of any insured property and covers expenses caused by steps taken to fight the disaster or reduce the extent of the damage.
How to proceed
The property that can be insured includes all buildings and all movables located in the canton. If you are already covered by an insurance company, you can keep your policy until it expires.