Health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland. For this reason, both you and your family need to be insured with a Swiss health insurance provider. You must do this within three months of arriving or commencing gainful employment in Switzerland at the latest. Those with a permit for cross-border commuters can generally choose between Swiss insurance and insurance in their country of residence.
Insurance for students
Students staying in Switzerland for more than three months are also obligated to take out health insurance. However, students from states that provide international assistance are not subject to compulsory insurance. In addition, students are relieved of the insurance obligation if they have insurance coverage of equal value in their home state.
The compulsory health care insurance grants benefits in the event of illness, accident and pregnancy. In the event of an accident, the health insurance only applies if the insured person does not have any other (compulsory or private) accident insurance. The benefits of basic insurance (benefits under compulsory health care insurance (KVP)) are prescribed by law and are the same across all insurance providers. An overview of benefits can be found on the site of the Federal Office of Public Health Link. As the benefits are the same for all insurance policies, it is worth comparing the different providers. Comparis.chprovides a popular comparison portal.
Accident insurance in the workplace
Your employer provides you with insurance against accidents in the workplace. Should you work more than 8 hours a week, you are automatically insured against accidents inside and outside of work.
Insurance in the event of job loss
As an employee of a company, you are insured here under state unemployment insurance. Should you lose your job, you will receive up to 80% of your last income, depending on your previous income and responsibility for caring for children. However, you must have paid into unemployment insurance in Switzerland or Europe for at least one year. Contributions are shared half and half by the employee and employer.
Old age, survivors’ and invalidity insurance (AHV)
Those that are resident in Switzerland or work in Switzerland are obligatorily insured with old age and survivors’ insurance, as well as invalidity insurance. Insurance with a pension scheme (pension fund or vested benefits foundation) is only compulsory from a certain level of income. Self-employed persons have the option of voluntarily joining a pension fund.
The three-pillar system in Switzerland
1. Pillar: Old age or invalidity insurance
Entitlement to a pension in the event of old age, invalidity or death of spouse. Contributions to old age and survivors’ insurance/invalidity insurance are shared half and half by the employee and employer.
2. Pillar: Occupational pensions
Together with the old age and survivors’ insurance/invalidity insurance, your usual standard of living should be assured in old age and in the event of invalidity or death (for those left behind). You are automatically insured as an employee aged over 25 and from a certain wage level. Contributions are generally shared half and half by the employee and employer.
3. Pillar: Fixed pension schemes (pillar 3a) and flexible pension schemes (pillar 3b)
- Fixed pension schemes (pillar 3a): Contributions to pillar 3a serve the sole purpose of provision for old age, which is why it is referred to as fixed.
- Flexible pension schemes (pillar 3b): Contributions to pillar 3b can be freely selected, and the capital paid in can be used at any time.