• Switzerland

    Health and country information for expats in Switzerland

    One of the world's most economically successful countries, Switzerland is famed for its safe, clean cities, efficient public transport, mountainous landscapes, and the quality of its healthcare system. This small, prosperous nation is also famed for diversity - with 26 individual subdivisions (or cantons) each with their own constitution and laws, and four official languages spoken across the country as a whole.

    The quality of life Switzerland offers is highly valued by locals and expats alike, and the country scores remarkably well in quality of life surveys. Zurich, Geneva and Bern all ranked in the top 10 city rankings for Mercer's most recent Quality of Living Survey - giving Switzerland an enviable presence in the upper reaches of the quality of life list.

    While Switzerland's reputation for efficiency and an orderly way of doing things is famous, it's perhaps less well-known that it is also very much an expat location too. In fact, nearly a quarter of the people permanently resident in Switzerland are from other countries. The biggest expat populations in Switzerland are from Germany and Italy, and the numbers of people from more distant countries making this nation their home is on the increase.

    Healthcare in Switzerland

    The Swiss healthcare system is often held up as an example of excellence not just in terms of the high quality of care it offers but also for it positive effect on measures such as life expectancy. For anyone living in Switzerland longer than three months, health insurance is compulsory. In many cases this will be purchased through a regional provider.

    However, depending on which canton an expat is going to be a resident of, any international private medical insurance policy already owned may be accepted as valid - so checking this with the municipality registration office is an important first step on arrival.

    For expats who are living in a Swiss canton where an international health cover policy isn't valid, many people still purchase global cover as well as local health insurance within their canton. If someone is only resident in the country for part of the year, an international policy means being covered for the time not spent in Switzerland. International health cover also means that there is the option of elective treatment overseas, as well as coverage for emergency medical repatriation.

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