In Switzerland health care is compulsory. After you officially register with the local authorities as a resident, you must enroll in a health care plan within three months. I had postponed my decision to enroll because my health plan from the US does not expire until the third week of August. Well, once you are registered, they keep track of you, as it should be. So, I received a letter from the government reminding me to enroll in a plan. If you do not, they do it for you. So with Petra’s help, we researched a bit. She asked her best friend who has a keen eye for the best deals. She also asked her partner doctors. They gave us two recommendations based on quality of service and price.
There are many (many) options available. The system is privatized. There are no government plans and your job does not pay for it. I was disappointed at first because it looked similar to the US system: a type of HMO where you choose a primary care physician who refers you to a specialist if necessary. The price is cheaper than the US but not by much, about CH320 monthly (about the same in US$). However, the differences are significant. Alternative medical treatments like acupuncture, chinese medice and others are covered; there are no deductibles when you go for treatment; you get a reduction if you do not use the service frequently; and pre-existing conditions are admitted. There are other perks which I will find out more about, as I get familiar with it. I hope my Swiss readers will contribute to this topic by sharing their experiences.
Although I do not want to get sick, I am looking forward to using it. When it is approved, I will schedule a physical to see what the system is like. I will keep you posted on Part II.