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Healthcare in Switzerland is universal and is regulated by the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance. Health insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country). International civil servants, members of embassies, and their family members are exempted from compulsory health insurance. Requests for exemptions are handled by the respective cantonal authority and have to be addressed to them directly.
The whole healthcare system is geared towards to the general goals of enhancing general public health and reducing costs while encouraging individual responsibility.
Health insurance covers the costs of medical treatment and hospitalisation of the insured. However, the insured person pays part of the cost of treatment. This is done (a) by means of an annual deductible (called the franchise), which ranges from CHF 300 (PPP-adjusted US$ 184) to a maximum of CHF 2,500 (PPP-adjusted $ 1,534) for an adult as chosen by the insured person (premiums are adjusted accordingly) and (b) by a charge of 10% of the costs over and above the excess up to a stop-loss amount of CHF 700 (PPP-adjusted $ 429).
Switzerland has an infant mortality rate of about 3.6 out of 1,000. The general life expectancy in 2012 was for men 80.5 years compared to 84.7 years for women. These are the world's best figures.
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Swiss are required to purchase basic health insurance, which covers a range of treatments detailed in the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance (ger: Krankenversicherungsgesetz (KVG); fre:' la loi fédérale sur l’assurance-maladie (LAMal); ita: legge federale sull’assicurazione malattie (LAMal)). It is therefore the same throughout the country and avoids double standards in healthcare. Insurers are required to offer this basic insurance to everyone, regardless of age or medical condition. They are not allowed to make a profit off this basic insurance, but can on supplemental plans.
The insured person pays the insurance premium for the basic plan up to 8% of their personal income. If a premium is higher than this, the government gives the insured person a cash subsidy to pay for any additional premium.
The universal compulsory coverage provides for treatment in case of illness or accident (unless another accident insurance provides the cover) and pregnancy.
Health insurance covers the costs of medical treatment and hospitalization of the insured. However, the insured person pays part of the cost of treatment. This is done by these ways:
In case of pregnancy, there is no charge. For hospitalisation, one pays a contribution to room and service costs.
Insurance premiums vary from insurance company to company (health insurance funds; ger: Krankenkassen; fre: caisses-maladie; ita: casse malati), the excess level chosen (franchise), the place of residence of the insured person and the degree of supplementary benefit coverage chosen (complimentary medicine, routine dental care, half-private or private ward hospitalisation, etc.).
In 2014, the average monthly compulsory basic health insurance premiums (with accident insurance) in Switzerland are the following:
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The compulsory insurance can be supplemented by private "complementary" insurance policies that allow for coverage of some of the treatment categories not covered by the basic insurance or to improve the standard of room and service in case of hospitalisation. This can include complimentary medicine, routine dental treatments, half-private or private ward hospitalisation, and others, which are not covered by the compulsory insurance.
As far as the compulsory health insurance is concerned, the insurance companies cannot set any conditions relating to age, sex or state of health for coverage. Although the level of premium can vary from one company to another, they must be identical within the same company for all insured persons of the same age group and region, regardless of sex or state of health. This does not apply to complementary insurance, where premiums are risk-based.
The Swiss healthcare system is a combination of public, subsidised private and totally private systems:
The insured person has full freedom of choice among the recognised healthcare providers competent to treat their condition (in his region) on the understanding that the costs are covered by the insurance up to the level of the official tariff. There is freedom of choice when selecting an insurance company (provided it is an officially registered caisse-maladie or a private insurance company authorised by the federal law) to which one pays a premium, usually on a monthly basis.
The list of officially-approved insurance companies can be obtained from the cantonal authority.
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Healthcare costs in Switzerland are 11.4% of GDP (2010), comparable to Germany and France (11.6%) and other European countries, but far less than in USA (17.6%). Benefits paid out as a percentage of premiums were 90.4% in 2011. Total gross benefits per person and per year in 2011 were CHF 3'171 (PPP-adjusted US$1,945), of which CHF 455 (PPP-adjusted $279) are cost sharing.