Welcome to Switzerland

Welcome! By moving to Switzerland, you have started a new chapter in your life. We understand that many things here are still new and unfamiliar to you. On this site, you will find the most important information about your health insurance in Switzerland, along with useful tips and answers to frequently asked questions.

Visana is one of the largest health insurance providers in Switzerland

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As your first step towards top-quality insurance, and choose the optimal package for you.

The most important terms

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    Basic insurance and top-up insurance

    Basic insurance is compulsory and the benefits are defined by law; they are the same for all health insurers. Top-up insurance is voluntary and adds to the benefits from basic insurance.

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    The insurance premium is the fixed amount that you pay for your insurance, as stated in your insurance contract. Premiums can be paid once a month, once every half-year, or once a year.

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    The deductible is the amount that you agree to pay for medical treatment without being reimbursed by the basic insurance. 
    Good to know: The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. 

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    Retention fee

    If your costs rise higher than the deductible, you then pay 10% of any further costs as a ‘retention fee’. The rest is paid by the health insurance provider. 

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    Basic insurance models

    When setting up your basic insurance, you can choose between different models, which determine whom you are to contact first before using medical services: free choice of physician, general practitioner, telemedicine or a combination of general practitioner and telemedicine.

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    Accident insurance

    If you are employed and work more than 8 hours a week, you are insured against accidents through your employer.

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    Premium reduction

    People with low incomes can apply for financial support, so-called ‘premium reduction’.

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The Swiss health insurance system

If you register within three months, you will be insured from the date on which you made Switzerland your home. The health insurance provider will cover any costs that have arisen between that date and the insurance start date.

You will also have to pay the premiums for that period. If you miss the three-month deadline for taking out health insurance, your insurance cover will only begin on the date when you register, and you will also have to pay a premium supplement.

  • Basic insurance

    Basic insurance is compulsory and guarantees comprehensive basic medical care for everyone. It covers costs caused by illness, accidents or maternity.

    The benefits of basic insurance are the same at every health insurance company. The premium differs from provider to provider and varies according to where the insured person lives, how old they are, which insurance model is chosen, and the selected deductible. In larger cities, like Zurich, Bern or Geneva, premiums are higher than in rural areas or smaller towns.

    Insurance model

    For basic insurance, you choose a model that best suits your needs. Different models come with different premiums.

    • Traditional model: Free choice of physician
      You decide on the doctor you trust and are able to go directly to a specialist.
    • General practitioner model:
      Your family doctor or a group practice is your first point of contact.
    • Telemedicine models:
      You always contact Medi24 first – by phone or via chat.
    • Combined model: general practitioner or telemedicine

      You are free to choose: You contact your family doctor or Medi24.

    * Our website is available in German, French and Italian. For other languages, use your browser’s automatic translation function.

  • Top-up insurance

    Top-up insurance is voluntary and adds to the benefits from basic insurance. The individual health insurance companies offer different types of top-up insurance. These often cover the following: costs relating to stays in hospital or abroad, treatment by specialists, alternative medicine, preventative examinations, tooth corrections and vaccinations.

    Here is an overview of the top-up insurance we offer

    • Outpatient: Contributions to glasses/contact lenses, fitness/wellness, transport and rescue costs, check-ups, preventative examinations, and additional medication.
    • Complementary: Contributions to alternative treatments and forms of therapy, as well as medication for complementary medicine.
    • Hosptial: More comfort and privacy at the hospital. Free choice of hospital throughout Switzerland, single or two-bed room, choice of doctor depending on the selected ward, and additional benefits such as health resorts or rooming-in.
    • Basic: Includes outpatient II and complementary II top-up insurance, plus a hospital top-up insurance of your choice.

    In addition to our three main types of top-up insurance (outpatient, hospital and complementary) we offer you further specific top-up insurance for your dental health or, for example, for financial security in the event of illness or accident.

    * Our website is available in German, French and Italian. For other languages, use your browser’s automatic translation function.

  • Premium, deductible and retention fee

    Premiums are charged for health insurance and must be paid without fail. The basic insurance premium depends on the place of residence, age, insurance model and deductible. The deductible is the portion of medical costs paid each year by people with basic insurance. For adults, there are various levels of deductible to choose from, between CHF 300 and CHF 2500. Children and youths under the age of 18 can be insured with a deductible between CHF 0 and a maximum of CHF 600.  Insured persons must first pay the deductible amount themselves before the health insurance provider will cover any costs.

    Once the deductible amount has been reached, the health insurance provider pays its share of any further costs. From then on, you only pay the retention fee defined by law.

    • Adults: 10% retention fee, up to a maximum of CHF 700
    • Children: 10% retention fee up to CHF 350

    Good to know

    The higher the deductible (the portion that you pay from your own pocket), the lower the premium (the monthly fee). For children, the deductible can be eliminated (deductible CHF 0).

    This enables you to save on premiums

    * Our website is available in German, French and Italian. For other languages, use your browser’s automatic translation function.

  • Accident insurance

    Accident insurance is compulsory. If you have an employment contract and work at least 8 hours a week, you are already covered by accident insurance through your employer. This cover is based on the Accident Insurance Act (AIA/UVG). This means you can ‘exclude’ accident insurance from your health insurance to reduce your health insurance costs. People with low incomes are also entitled to a contribution towards their health insurance premiums. This contribution is called ‘premium reduction’.

    If you are self-employed, unemployed, or employed by a company for less than eight hours a week, you are not automatically insured against accidents. You can take out accident insurance as a top-up insurance from your health insurance provider.

    Good to know

    In Switzerland, both health and accident insurance are compulsory. Adjust your cover regularly to make sure it suits your current situation.

  • Home and property

    Household contents insurance

    Our household contents insurance protects your belongings in the event of losses caused by fire, natural hazard events, theft, water damage and glass breakage. It covers furniture, clothing, shoes, televisions, computers, mobile phones, sports equipment and even pets.

    Personal liability insurance

    Imagine that your dog bites a jogger while you are out walking, or you damage another car while parking. Our personal liability insurance protects your assets if you cause a third party to suffer property damage or bodily injury.

    Good to know: Private liability insurance is not compulsory. However, if you want to rent a flat, the landlord usually requires you to take out such insurance. In addition, private liability insurance is compulsory for dog owners in some cantons.

    Home insurance

    Our home insurance protects your one- to three-family house or owner-occupied flat against losses caused by fire, natural hazard events, water damage and glass breakage.

    Legal protection insurance

    Landlord disputes or traffic accidents can easily lead to long and expensive court cases, even if you are in the right. Visana provides legal protection that helps you with lawyers’, courts’ and experts’ fees, assessment costs, or any obligation to compensate the other party for legal costs.

    Good to know: In the event of disputes with doctors, or providers of social or private insurance, our health-related legal protection is available free of charge to all insured persons with Visana basic insurance.

    * Our website is available in German, French and Italian. For other languages, use your browser’s automatic translation function.

  • Motor vehicles and travel

    Car insurance

    Braked too late? Failed to notice the post in the car park? Visana car insurance offers comprehensive insurance cover with guaranteed protection against costs caused by an accident or breakdown.

    Travel insurance

    No matter where you travel, you can enjoy carefree stays abroad with our Vacanza travel insurance. Thanks to our 24-hour emergency service, insurance against cancellation costs, and worldwide cover for hospital costs, you are insured against illness, accidents and other incidents while travelling.

    * Our website is available in German, French and Italian. For other languages, use your browser’s automatic translation function.

  • Welfare and assets


    Make provisions and save on taxes with a 3a account. With Visana’s welfare solution, you save for the future and can deduct CHF 7,056 from your taxes each year – or even more if you are self-employed.

    Lump-sum insurance

    Our lump-sum insurance protects you and your family against the financial consequences of illness and accidents. To close gaps in the existing cover, we recommend lump-sum insurance for children, youths, students, unemployed persons, self-employed persons and employees.

    Daily allowance insurance

    Our daily allowance insurance protects you against the financial consequences of being no longer able to work due to an accident, illness or maternity.

    * Our website is available in German, French and Italian. For other languages, use your browser’s automatic translation function.

  • Checklist for your move

    Six easy steps for getting settled in Switzerland

    1. Registration

    • Register your place of residence within eight days after moving to Switzerland.
    • Apply for a residence permit and/or work permit if you are staying for longer than three months.

    To do this, contact the local residents’ register office in your commune of residence. You will find all relevant information and contact details at sem.admin.ch

    2. Insurance

    • Take out compulsory health insurance within three months after moving to Switzerland.

    3. Accomodation

    Compare available properties via real estate agents or online providers. When viewing a property, have the following documents on hand:


    • Copy of your residence permit or a valid means of identification
    • Copy of your employment contract
    • Your previous landlord’s contact details
    • Your credit rating information (extract from the debt enforcement register, available from your commune of residence)

    4. Bank account

    You can find valuable information about banking and all Swiss financial institutions at schweizer-banken.info. Have the following documents on hand if you want to open an account:


    • Valid means of identification
    • Residence permit or certificate of residence
    • Employment contract, if available

    5. Motor vehicle

    To register a motor vehicle, or for any related formalities, consult your cantonal driver and vehicle licensing office. You will find all relevant addresses and information at asa.ch.


    • Get your driving licence altered no later than within twelve months after entering the country
    • Register your motor vehicle within the following time limits: one month if you import a new vehicle; twelve months for used vehicles
    • In order to register your motor vehicle, it is compulsory to take out Swiss insurance

    6. Post and telecommunications

    • Before moving to Switzerland, inform your current local post office and arrange to have your mail forwarded
    • Request a landline phone and/or internet connection for your new home
    • Contact the Swiss fee collection agency about the radio and television fee: serafe.ch

    Customs regulations

    When you move to Switzerland, you are entitled to bring your household goods, any collections, animals and your car with you, free of customs duty. The only condition is that you have personally used the imported objects for at least six months and continue to do so after importing them.

Why switch to Visana?

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    Quick calculation of benefits and reimbursement

    In the independent customer-satisfaction study conducted by Bonus.ch, we came out on top as the best health insurance company in the category ‘processing of benefits’, with a score of 5.5. Also in the overall ranking for 2022, Visana was awarded 1st place and achieved the highest score: 5.4.

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    Free health-related legal protection insurance

    All our basic insurance models include health-related legal protection insurance.

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    The myVisana app: Simply do everything digitally

    With the myVisana app, you can do everything digitally and always have your insurance card with you.

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    Well: The health platform for Switzerland

    Free access to the doctor chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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    24-hour hotline, 365 days a year

    We are here for you around the clock.

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    Changeover service

    If you choose Visana, you can confidently leave all the changeover formalities to us. We will gladly and reliably take care of them for you.

Frequently asked questions

When do I have to take out insurance in Switzerland?

Everyone who lives in Switzerland for longer than three months is required by law to take out compulsory health insurance. All family members, adults as well as children, must be insured individually.

Also, cross-border commuters must take out insurance in Switzerland. Everyone who lives abroad and works in Switzerland generally has to take out health insurance in Switzerland. Exceptions are possible, depending on the employee’s country of residence and nationality. Information on such exceptions is available from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH/BAG).

You do not have to take out insurance in the following cases:

  • You work in an EU/EFTA country or receive a pension exclusively from an EU/EFTA country and move to Switzerland.
  • You are posted to Switzerland for a period of up to 24 months by an employer based in the EU or EFTA and move to Switzerland temporarily for that reason.
  • You are a member of a diplomatic mission or international organisation and have privileges under international law.

You will find more information on the requirement to take out insurance in Switzerland here.


Do I have to take out insurance immediately after arriving?

After your arrival, you have three months to take out health insurance for yourself and your family members. The same deadline applies to parents of a newborn child. If you are pregnant and planning to move to Switzerland, you can even register your baby before the birth.

Where can I take out insurance?

With any health insurance company in Switzerland. There are currently around 60 providers. Visana is one of the largest. About seven percent of the Swiss population are insured with Visana.

Why are premiums so high in Switzerland?

Switzerland has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The basic medical care is comprehensive and of a high standard. This system comes at a cost, which is reflected in the premiums.

Why do people I know in rural areas pay lower premiums than I do?

Switzerland is divided into various ‘premium regions’. This means you pay higher or lower insurance premiums, depending on your commune and place of residence.

How can I save on premiums?

By changing the deductible or the insurance model, for example. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. You can always change the deductible as of the 1st of January or choose a different, cheaper insurance model, such as Combi Care.

You can suspend (pause) your insurance if you stay abroad for longer than three months, or if you have to take out other insurance due to your professional activity. In the event of a suspension, you pay 10% of your premium and are unconditionally able to reactivate the top-up insurance after your return, without having to make a health declaration.

How you can save


  • If you pay your premium once every half-year, we grant you a 1% premium discount. If you pay once a year, we even make it 2%.


  • You can get discounts by taking out multi-year contracts. A 3-year contract enables you to get a 2% discount; with a 5-year contract, it is even 3%.


  • With outpatient top-up insurance, you benefit from our wellness cheques for fitness, courses and recreation. This can save you up to CHF 350 a year.


  • With our digital bonus programme myPoints, you can receive up to CHF 120 each year in return for exercising and for customer loyalty.

How to save on premiums

Do I need to include accident cover in the basic insurance?

If you work at least 8 hours a week for an employer, you do not need your own accident insurance, as you are insured against accidents through your employer.

Why do children have no deductible?

For children, there is no annual deductible required by law. As parents, you only pay the retention fee that is levied on the child’s medical costs. This will not exceed CHF 350 per year. If multiple children from the same family are insured with Visana, the family will not have to contribute more than CHF 950 to the children’s combined medical costs each year.

How do I read the benefits statement?

You receive benefits statements whenever you make use of a service – for instance when you have visited a doctor. The doctor usually sends the invoice directly to us and we pay it, before reclaiming your portion from you. The benefits statement for outpatient treatment contains a lot of important information.


  • Details of the insured persons
  • Details of the service provider / invoicing party (doctor, therapist, pharmacy, laboratory, medication etc.)
  • Date and duration of treatment
  • Details of how the benefits are calculated


The first part states whether the provided service is covered by the basic insurance (as per HIA/KVG) and/or top-up insurance (as per IPA/VVG). In the next three columns, you will find more information:


  • Deductible: This is the amount that you have selected as your contribution towards costs relating to doctors, hospitalisation, medication etc.
  • Retention fee: The health insurance provider contributes 90% of the treatment costs that exceed the agreed deductible. You have to pay the remaining 10% as a so-called ‘retention fee’, up to a maximum of CHF 700 per year
  • Uninsured sum: Services that neither the basic insurance nor the top-up insurance covers. You have to pay these costs yourself

Below the list, you can see how much the health insurance provider has paid the service provider. Visana pays the full invoiced amount, then turns to you to reclaim the portion that you have to pay.

In some cases, you pay the invoiced amount directly to the service provider yourself. Visana then pays you the portion that it covers as your health insurance provider. At the bottom of the page, you will find an overview of your out-of-pocket expenses for the current calendar year.

The benefits statement for inpatient treatment contains more or less the same information. The only difference is that you have to pay a legally prescribed hospital contribution of CHF 15 per day from your own pocket for an inpatient stay. You will find this information, the total amount and the retention fee in the cost-breakdown table, under ‘your share’.

What advantages does the Visana app bring me?

You can download the Visana app free of charge from App Store or Google Play. With the Visana app and the customer portal myVisana, you can conveniently handle your insurance matters online. At the customer portal, you can:


  • access the whole family’s policies, invoices and benefits statements
  • photograph and upload medical invoices, and send them directly to Visana in digital form
  • check the portion of costs paid by Visana, as well as your retention fee
  • check deductible options and change them online
  • get push notifications when new documents arrive
  • call up and view insurance cards for the whole family
  • ‘translate’ invoices from doctors and hospitals into easily understandable language


You can also access the digital bonus programme myPoints with the app. This enables you to receive up to CHF 120 each year for exercising and for customer loyalty. Note: Only insured persons who hold Visana top-up insurance and are over 12 years of age can use myPoints.

The Swiss health app Well is also included in the Visana app. Thanks to Well, you can, for example, discuss any complaints with a doctor free of charge in the doctor chat, use the symptom checker, or make appointments with doctors.

More about myVisana

Why do I no longer receive invoices on paper when I use the app?

To reduce paper consumption, all insured persons only receive their documents and invoices directly in the app.

How can I cancel my insurance?

The insurance ends in accordance with the Swiss laws HIA/KVG and IPA/VVG. Notice of cancellation must be given in writing and on time, meaning it must reach Visana no later than on the last working day before the start of the notice period.

To cancel basic insurance, the letter must reach Visana by the last working day in November at the latest. In the case of top-up insurance, there is a three-month notice period, so the letter must reach the insurer by the last working day in September at the latest.