The Local Healthcare Insurance System in Switzerland
The healthcare insurance system in Switzerland is known as LAMal. It is mandatory for all Swiss residents and for those holding a work permit (permits B, L and C).
A three-month period is granted to prove enrollment in a health insurance fund; however enrollment must be effective on the day of arrival. LAMal is not mandatory for students as long as they are covered by a health insurance plan in their home country that provides the same level of benefits.
LAMal covers, among other things, all examinations and treatments provided by doctors (prescription drugs included) and by chiropractors, hospitalization fees in a shared ward, maternity-related expenses and certain medically-prescribed preventive care (vaccines, check-up, etc.).
Many medical expenses are not covered by LAMal (single room, alternative medicine, dental care, vision care, physiotherapy, etc.), which is why it is strongly recommended to take out complementary health insurance coverage as the cost of medical expenses in Switzerland is high.
Furthermore, all insured members are requested to pay a contribution to medical expenses, known as “annual deductible”. It ranges from CHF 300 to CHF 2,500 for adults and from CHF 0 to CHF 600 for people under 18. As long as your medical expenses do not exceed the deductible amount, you will not be reimbursed.
Furthermore, once the deductible is exceeded, you will have to pay co-insurance of around 10% for any reimbursement of your medical expenses by the LAMal system (up to a maximum of CHF 700 per year for adults and CHF 350 for children).
To find out more about the healthcare system in Switzerland, please click here
Doctors’ visits in Switzerland
Treating doctors in Switzerland
Each insured member is free to choose his/her own treating doctor, unless you turn to an alternative insurance system which may limit in certain cases your access to medical care but will allow for lower premiums in return.
General Practitioners in Switzerland
Each canton has its preferred language so it will not be always easy to find a doctor who speaks your language. It will be much easier for you to find doctors via this official web portal since it lists all the doctors in Switzerland depending on the canton chosen and provides you with an impressive amount of information (year of birth, professional experience, etc.): http://www.doctorfmh.ch/
In general, medical offices are open every day from 8.00 am to 12.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm (usually from Monday to Friday, and doctors are also on duty on Saturday).
Consultation fees in Switzerland cost €74 on average.
Specialist doctors in Switzerland
Unless you have opted for a “first aid doctor” insurance type, you can make an appointment directly with a specialist. Medical expenses will be covered.
Being admitted to the hospital in Switzerland
In case of emergency, you are free to choose the hospital in which you want to be admitted for emergency services.
Practical information: you will find a list of hospitals in Switzerland, sorted by town, by clicking here
and statistical measures regarding the quality of care provided by each hospital by clicking here
Buying drugs in Switzerland
Medically-prescribed drugs which are eligible for reimbursement will be entirely covered by the mandatory health insurance system as soon as the annual deductible is reached.
In case of emergency
Medical emergency services: 144
Late-night pharmacies: www.sos-apotheke.ch
Last updated: June 2013