In Switzerland, you are required by law to take out health insurance. This mandatory basic insurance covers all of the costs of the treatment you need for HIV.
Can I take out basic insurance and supplementary insurance from a health insurance company if I am HIV-positive?
It is even compulsory to take out basic health insurance. Each Swiss resident must, by law, take out medical insurance cover. In return, insurance companies have a legal obligation to accept everyone into their basic health insurance schemes, regardless of the individual's state of health. Basic insurance covers all of the costs of the treatment you need for HIV.
Anyone coming to live and/or work in Switzerland must have taken out insurance with a health insurer of their choice within three months.
Supplementary insurance, on the other hand, is voluntary, and insurance companies can decide who they do and do not want to insure, under the freedom of contract principle. As a rule, this type of insurance is not available to people living with HIV.
What costs do I have to pay myself each year?
You should expect the following costs each year:
- Deductible (fixed amount per year): for people living with HIV who have regular medical checkups and take antiretroviral drugs, we recommend choosing the lowest deductible, i.e. 300 Swiss francs
- Retention fee: this amounts to 10% of the costs which exceed the deductible. The annual retention fee is capped at 700 francs for adults. If a generic version of a medicine (a copy containing the same active agent) is available, not opting for that generic raises the retention fee to 20%. Of this, 15% is counted towards the maximum of CHF 700. The remaining 5% is paid by the patient, and is not subject to any limit.
- Health insurance premiums: premiums differ depending on the health insurer and the tariffs for your region. Further information and a premium calculator can be found at www.priminfo.admin.ch (federal government) and www.comparis.ch (private).
Can I choose a model that allows me to save on premiums, such as a telmed or family doctor model?
As part of their mandatory basic health insurance, most health insurers offer alternative insurance models that enable you to save on premiums. By opting for one of these models, you enter into certain obligations, such as always going to your family doctor first, or calling the health insurer's telephone advisory service before every doctor's appointment. These savings models are also available to people with chronic illnesses, but you should study the insurance terms and conditions very closely before signing up. Insurance companies apply different procedures if insureds fail to fulfil their obligations, and these can be drastic – such as refusing to pay the costs of the doctor's appointment and the medication that the doctor has prescribed.
Comprehensive information and model letters can be found in the "Health insurance" section of our legal guidebook: Rechtratgeber (PDF only in German and French)