Healthcare

Switzerland’s healthcare system is often praised for being one of the best in the world, even claiming top spot in the last Euro Health Consumer Index 2018 among 35 European countries. The reasons are in plain sight: patients benefit from access to an extensive network of doctors and specialists, high quality medical facilities and care along with short waiting times, just to name a few.

 

Did you know? The Swiss healthcare system is based on a federalist structure, which means that the federal government and cantons assume different tasks. Picture something like twenty-six semi-autonomous systems!

Health Insurance

One of the main advantages of the universal healthcare system in Switzerland is that everyone has access to high-quality medical care. In fact, Swiss insurers are required by law to offer basic insurance coverage to everyone, regardless of age or medical history. At the same time, healthcare in Switzerland isn’t covered by social security payments but instead all residents are generally obliged to take out a basic insurance policy that is standardized nationwide within 90 days of arrival. This means you’ll be paying monthly premiums as well as part of the costs of any medical treatments you receive in the form of an annual deductible and thereafter retention fees. Private top-ups such as dental treatments, out-patient services or room upgrades are of course also available albeit at a cost, and highly popular among expats.

 

Upon arrival in Switzerland and receipt of your Swiss residence permit, it is your responsibility to arrange Swiss health insurance for each family member. We advise that you shop around to find a provider that best suits your needs. It is also important to remember to get accident coverage, which is only covered if you work for an employer for 8 or more hours per week. Please note that once you have signed on with an insurer, your coverage will be backdated to the day you became liable for compulsory Swiss health insurance, most likely, the day you became a resident. This means that just as you can claim expenses retrospectively, you must also pay the premiums. For comprehensive information on the compulsory health insurance system, download the official guide by the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH. To compare premiums across different insurance models, visit the official premium calculator supplied by the FOPH (in German).

 

Good to know. Most insurers will expect you to pay fees for medical treatments upfront and claim reimbursements afterwards. For this you will need to submit a claim form along with all relevant invoices or receipts.


 

General Practitioners & Pharmacies

Unless your insurance policy states otherwise, you are generally free to choose your general practitioner or family doctor (Hausarzt in German) who will generally be your first point of contact for non-emergencies. Although many doctors do speak English, you may want to clarify this before registering. Remember to take your Swiss health insurance card to appointments and give 24 hours’ notice if you are unable to attend, or you may be charged. To find a practice near you that is accepting new patients, visit the traffic light overview provided by ZUGHAM.

 

For general medical assistance or advice and over-the-counter medicine, the local pharmacies in the canton are all very helpful. Amongst other things they also provide flu shots and other immunisations, as well as herbal remedies or medical equipment such as respirators and vaporisers on a rental basis.

The Zug pharmacy located at the Zug train station is open 365 days a year, Monday to Friday from 7 am to 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 8 pm.


 

Emergencies

For life-threatening emergencies, caused by accident or illness, dial 144.

In case of an emergency (Notfall in German), quick medical care is essential and lifesaving. The Emergency Centre (Notfallzentrum) of the Zuger Kantonsspital is fully equipped and offers services on a 24/7 basis. We recommend that you have the address saved on your phone or GPS to avoid panic in an emergency.

 

Zuger Kantonsspital AG,
Landhausstrasse 11,
6340 Baar

 

For non-life-threatening emergencies, you may use the doctor’s association emergency number 0900 008 008 (CHF 3.23/Min.) of the canton Zug, operating 24 hours, 365 days a year. Experienced and trained staff will gladly answer any questions and coordinate any emergency doctor appointments with family doctors or specialists (pediatricians, gynecologists, psychiatrists, etc.).

 

The number for dental emergencies is 0844 224 044.

 

Other emergency numbers:

 

* 117 Police

* 118 Fire Brigade

* 140 Vehicle Assistance

* 145 Poison Center (see also www.toxi.ch/eng/welcome.html)

* 143 Helping Hand counselling helpline (CHF 0.20/call)

* 1414 REGA air rescue

* 147 Helpline for children and young people (Pro Juventute)

* 112 Europe-wide number for combined emergency services


 

Women’s Health & Pregnancy

In Switzerland, all medical check-ups and costs related to pregnancy and birth are fully covered by your health insurance. Neither deductibles nor retention fees apply.

 

You will probably see an OB/GYN shortly after you hold a positive pregnancy test in your hands with the first ultrasound usually taking place between weeks 9 and 12. You can then decide to see a doctor or a midwife for further checkups or combine both. The second ultrasound takes place between weeks 19 and 22.

 

For those moving to Switzerland whilst pregnant, please rest assured that your care will resume where you left off in your home country at no additional cost. You can register for an appointment with an OB/GYN of your choice who will make sure that they have all information they require and carry out any further tests or ultrasounds as necessary. From medical check-ups through to acupuncture or preparatory courses, the Maternity Clinic at the Zuger Kantonsspital offers a range prenatal services and is a great place to start.

 

Good to know. Babies born in Switzerland must be insured within 3 months if you want their coverage to date retrospectively to their date of birth. For extra peace of mind, it is recommended that you take out an insurance policy for your child prior to their birth, which will only be payable from their date of birth. If you decide to take out insurance after 3 months, coverage will start from the date of your policy, which can mean that fees relating to the birth won’t be covered.

 

Deciding where to give birth

 

In Switzerland, you can choose to give birth in a hospital, a birth centre (Geburtshaus in German) or at home. Alongside birth preparation courses, most hospitals and birth centres offer monthly information evenings to share their birthing philosophy, guide you around their facilities and answer any questions you may have. The Zuger Kantonsspital also offers admission meetings for prospective parents who have opted for the hospital, during which your individual wishes and needs in relation to the birth are recorded by a midwife.

 

While doctors will be available throughout labour as medically required to ensure a safe delivery for mum and baby, it is good to be aware that in Switzerland doctors are usually only present during the very last stage. That means that during labour, you will be supported by a midwife or midwives across multiple shifts depending on how your labour progresses. It is for this reason that some women opt for the familiar face of a doula before, during and after birth (for more information, visit deinedoula.ch). 

 

Postpartum in hospital

 

After giving birth in hospital in Switzerland, it is common to stay in hospital for up to a week, although the duration will vary depending on whether you gave birth naturally or had a C-section. During your stay midwives will be on hand to support you during your first days of parenthood. Your newborn is checked over thoroughly by a pediatrician and there are many other services such as breastfeeding consultations, baby photography and postpartum exercise classes that you can make use of. You can also opt for various room upgrades, which might come at an additional cost depending on your insurance coverage.

 

Postpartum at home

 

In Switzerland, most insurance companies cover up to 16 home midwife visits (until the 56th day postpartum) after your baby is born. Midwives are responsible for making sure that you and your baby are doing well medically, carrying out checkups and answering any questions you may have. It is recommended that you find a postpartum midwife as early into your pregnancy or arrival to Switzerland as possible. This ensures that you find a midwife that meets your personal requirements in terms of language, breastfeeding philosophy and any further specialisations such as lactation consultant qualifications, for example. For certified and insurance-approved midwives, visit hebammen.ch.

 

Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to be accompanied by the Mütter- und Väterberatung of your municipality for which all relevant information will be provided to you after birth by your midwife.


 

Sports Medicine & Accident

For many, movement and sports are an integral part of physical and mental wellbeing. Sports medicine entails prevention and treatment of injuries related to physical activity and, contrary to popular belief, is not just for professional athletes. In fact, preventive measures such as regular medical check-ups and training, can help lead a healthier life, minimize injuries and are beneficial to all.

 

The Zuger Kantonsspital is a Sport Medical Base approved by Swiss Olympic and employs an interdisciplinary team consisting of doctors, physiotherapists, surgeons and nutritionists. The hospital is also Medical Partner to various professional sports teams including the 2021 Swiss Ice Hockey Champions EV Zug. Enhance any aspect of your health with a variety of inpatient and outpatient services including a training center for recovery as well as general performance and fitness enhancement.

 

Zuger Kantonsspital

For more than 160 years, the Zuger Kantonsspital has been providing high quality and personal healthcare to the inhabitants of the canton of Zug. The hospital is comprised of four main clinics, namely the Surgical Clinic, the Orthopaedics and Traumatology Clinic, the Medical Clinic and the Women’s Health Clinic. View the hospital virtually here.
 

Zuger Kantonsspital AG
Landhausstrasse 11
6340 Baar
T +41 41 399 11 11

info@zgks.ch

www.zgks.ch