Swiss health insurance operates on a system that combines public and private elements. It's mandatory for all residents to have basic health insurance, which they must obtain from private insurance companies. These companies offer a range of coverage plans, and individuals are free to choose the insurer and plan that best suits their needs. The key aspects of the Swiss health insurance system are:
Mandatory Coverage: All Swiss residents are required to have basic health insurance, regardless of age or health status. This coverage ensures access to essential healthcare services.
Private Insurance Providers: Health insurance is provided by private insurance companies, fostering competition and diverse coverage options.
Standard Benefits: The government defines the basic benefits that must be covered by all insurance plans. This includes a comprehensive range of medical treatments, hospital care, and preventive services.
Premiums: Individuals pay monthly insurance premiums to their chosen insurance provider. Premiums can vary based on factors such as age, location, and chosen deductible amount.
Deductibles and Cost Sharing: Policyholders can choose an annual deductible amount. They are responsible for covering healthcare costs up to this deductible before insurance coverage kicks in. This cost-sharing mechanism helps control healthcare utilisation.
Supplementary Insurance: In addition to basic insurance, individuals can purchase supplementary insurance for additional coverage, such as private hospital rooms or alternative therapies.
Cantonal Variation: Cantonal governments have some authority over health insurance regulations, leading to regional differences in premiums and specific regulations.
Universal Access: The Swiss healthcare system ensures universal access to quality healthcare services. Insurance coverage is not dependent on pre-existing conditions, and everyone has equal access to care.
Freedom of Choice: Insured individuals can choose their healthcare providers, including doctors, specialists, and hospitals, without requiring a referral.
Government Regulation: While private insurers provide coverage, the government regulates the industry to ensure that insurers adhere to certain standards and offer affordable and comprehensive coverage options.
Subsidies: The government provides subsidies to help lower-income individuals and families afford insurance premiums. These subsidies are designed to prevent healthcare costs from becoming a financial burden.
In summary, Swiss health insurance is based on mandatory private coverage with standardised benefits. This system promotes competition among insurers while ensuring that all residents have access to essential healthcare services.