Basic health insurance

An illness is defined as any impairment of physical or mental health that is not caused by an accident, requires medical examination or treatment, or results in an inability to work.


Basic health insurance has been mandatory for all Swiss residents since 1 January 1996. The benefits are clearly defined in the Health Insurance Act (KVG).


Basic health insurance covers medical services provided in the canton of residence of the insured person (less any franchise/deductible). Exceptions are made if the insured person requires medical services not provided in the canton of residence (complex procedures such as organ transplants, etc.) or needs emergency treatment outside the canton of residence. In these cases, medical treatment is covered.


For many individuals, however, hospital services provided under basic health insurance are not optimal. The idea of sharing a multi-bed hospital room, being treated by the doctor on duty – not the doctor of their choice – and having no easy access to the required medical care or institution is pivotal in their decision to take out supplementary insurance.

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