Switzerland


Residents of Switzerland are all required to purchase statutory health insurance (SHI) within three months of entry into the country, with almost 100 competing private insurers to choose between. There is no option for employer-sponsored health insurance. Each individual must purchase a separate policy, as dependents are not covered. For lower-income residents, the government subsidizes costs. SHI covers general practitioner visits, specialists, most pharmaceuticals, physiotherapy, mental illness, hospital stays, and some preventative care measures.

SHI covers a small portion of long-term care, such as payments towards nursing home stays or centers for the chronically ill. It only covers what is "medically necessary". The majority of the costs for these services is paid through a combination of out-of-pocket funds, local government subsidies, and disability insurance. 90% of dental care services are paid for by individuals.

Insurers operating through SHI have incorporated cost sharing by offering a minimum yearly deductible and requiring enrollees to pay 10% copay on all services. They cannot charge different premiums based on age, pre-existing conditions, or health statuses.

In 2009, 60% of all healthcare expenditure came from public funds while 31% came from out-of-pocket payments. An additional 9% of expenditure came through voluntary health insurance, which is generally provided by for-profit insurers. Many people choose to purchase voluntary health insurance to supplement the public plan as a way to receive coverage for services not covered by SHI, greater choice in picking doctors, and better hospital accommodation.

Switzerland is experiencing population growth, an aging demographic, and an increased number of chronic illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These changing demographics give increasing importance to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, which have prospects for high growth in the coming years.

Information technology is also bound to play a larger role in the future of the Swiss healthcare industry. In 2007, a national service called eHealth Suisse was developed with government funding, and is aimed to be an informational resource for healthcare providers, to give providers accessibility to electronic medical records, and to create a national health web site. While still in early stages, this development helps to bring the Swiss healthcare industry into the digital age.

  • Population:

    8.1 million(2013, World Bank)

  • GDP:

    $685 billion(2013, World Bank, USD)

  • Healthcare Spending:

    $77 billion(2013, Brocair estimate, USD)

  • Healthcare Spending as % of GDP:

    11.3%(2012, World Bank)

  • Annual Healthcare Spending Per Capita:

    $9,584(2013, Brocair estimate, USD)