Health care system

The Swiss healthcare system reflects the country's federal structure. It ensures high-quality healthcare with a dense network of doctors' surgeries and hospitals. Health insurance is compulsory for all residents of Switzerland.

Heart surgery at Inselspital in Bern
Switzerland has a high-quality healthcare system – although it is also one of the most expensive in the world © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

In Switzerland the cantons have primary responsibility for overseeing healthcare provision, including hospital care, advanced medicine, the licensing of healthcare professionals and prevention. The federal government is responsible for the compulsory health insurance scheme, control of communicable diseases, as well as medically assisted reproduction and transplant medicine.

Basic compulsory health insurance

Compulsory health insurance protects insured individuals in the event of illness, accident and maternity. The approximately 50 health insurance companies approved by the federal government must treat all insured individuals under basic insurance equally without exception (e.g. admission to the insurance scheme, free choice of insurance type, reimbursement of benefits).

Everyone residing in Switzerland is therefore obliged to take out basic insurance with a health insurer of their choice. The monthly premium depends on the place of residence, age and the selected level of the annual deductible, which can range from CHF 300 to a maximum of CHF 2,500 for adults. In addition to basic insurance, individuals can also opt to take out supplementary insurance.

Healthcare costs

Switzerland's total healthcare expenditure amounted to CHF 86.3 billion in 2021. This represented 11.8% of GDP, up from 9.3% of GDP in 2007. Switzerland ranks seventh among OECD countries in terms of per capita healthcare expenditure, well behind the United States and neighbouring countries such as Germany, France and Austria.

The rise in healthcare costs can be attributed to an ageing population, medical advances and rising public demand for medical services. A series of measures have been introduced to curb health costs in Switzerland, including the promotion of managed-care models, a new hospital financing system based on a set price for each service provided, and an 'eHealth' strategy. 


In Switzerland, there were 4.4 hospital beds per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021, with 60% of these beds located in general care hospitals. By comparison, South Korea and Japan had more than 12 hospital beds, Germany 7.8 beds, France 5.7 beds and Italy 3.1 beds per 1,000 residents (source: OECD). Over the last few years a number of cantons have restructured their hospital network, grouping certain specialist areas in one location or closing under-utilised facilities.

Switzerland boasts a comprehensive network of doctors and outpatient centres, enabling patients to receive treatment relatively quickly. On average, Swiss residents live just one kilometre from the nearest medical service provider.