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Health and emergencies

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Anyone resident in Switzerland for more than three months must purchase the basic health insurance package, the contents of which are set down by law. 

Some 60 private health insurers compete for this business. They are all obliged to offer the basic package to all comers for the same rate, regardless of health history, and are not allowed to make profit on the basic health insurance. 

Information on the mandatory benefits can be found hereexternal link. Most insurers also offer top-up packages with extra benefits, such as free choice of hospital, private rooms and additional therapies covered.

It is important to register with a general practitioner when you arrive in Switzerland so you have someone to call when you fall ill. You will be asked for your insurance details before any medical appointment.

Basic insurance does not cover injuries suffered in an accident and “accident insuranceexternal link” must be purchased separately. Anyone who works for the same employer for at least eight hours per week is automatically covered by their employee policy – including for accidents outside work. People not covered by an occupational scheme should purchase accident insurance from their health insurer.

For more on the benefits covered by law please see this page of the Federal Office of Public Healthexternal link, which includes a downloadable PDF document on compulsory health insurance.

The private price comparison website comparis.chexternal link is a good source for finding quotes on policies from numerous providers. In case of medical emergency, the number to call for an ambulance is 144. The police emergency number is 117, and fire service 118.

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