Did you know that most Swiss educational institutions require you to have health insurance to enroll? In this article we answer the best options for short or long term courses, which will cover most of your needs!
Health insurance is extremely important for you to live comfortably abroad, but even so, it is still something that few people know they need. Also, most courses require proof of insurance coverage to enroll!
With that in mind, we’ve separated the best insurance alternatives for students in Switzerland, as well as information about visas, courses and the country’s health system, which can help you in this new phase.
Why should international students in Switzerland have health insurance?
Taking out health insurance during your exchange will guarantee your safety in case you need emergency medical care in your new country.
All international students going to Switzerland are required to have public or private health insurance. Many international students are eligible to participate in Switzerland’s universal health care coverage, but this will depend on factors such as age, country of origin and duration of your degree programme.
But this is nothing new. So besides that, there are other reasons that I will explain below.
Taking out an international health insurance plan will give you opportunities to adapt it to your needs, depending on how long you will study in Switzerland, whether you will need a visa (and, if so, what insurance requirements you need to meet) , whether you will be eligible for the national healthcare system in Switzerland, in addition to your personal situation and choices.
And all of this brings us to the next point…
What student health insurance is required for a student visa in Switzerland?
If you still have doubts, it is important to know that health insurance is mandatory if you are going to study in Switzerland.
Expats living in Switzerland can apply for health benefits in two ways: Universal Health Insurance and private health insurance.
If you want to know more about the types of courses you can study in Switzerland, the best colleges and the visas you need, then continue reading the article after the list of the best international health insurance for international students in Switzerland.
As I always recommend, it is interesting that you make a quick quote online with all the companies listed here. It will take a little more time, but it saves you a lot of money!
The 5 Best and Cheapest Health Insurance for International Students in Switzerland
IMGlobal offers a range of insurance plans for students, in addition to insurance plans for expatriates in general.
They have three different insurance plans made specifically for students. One of them is just for students studying in the United States (The Patriot Exchange Program), so we’ll only talk about two of them here.
Plan #1: Student Health Advantage
This program is able to meet all the health coverage requirements of your Swiss educational institution (but even then, be sure to check the minimum coverage required by them!).
This particular plan covers some things that others don’t – including mental health related disorders, maternity care and pre-existing conditions. IMG also covers costs for COVID-19 like any other illness and injury which are subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.
Plan #2: Student Health Advantage Platinum
This plan is exactly like the previous one, but it offers twice the maximum coverage: $1,000,000
What I like about IMG’s International Student Insurance:
- Made specifically for students
- Covers students of all nationalities
- They have over 17,000 healthcare professionals around the world.
- Customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Covers COVID-19 and telemedicine consultations
What I don’t like about IMG’s International Student Insurance:
- In some of the plans offered, there is a one-year grace period for coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Cigna Global is one of the world’s largest health insurers, offering plans for travelers, expats and international students.
They have 3 main plans: Silver, Gold and Platinum. These plans are covered not just in Switzerland, but worldwide! If you have plans to visit the United States during your stay in Switzerland, you can choose whether you want to be covered there as well (although this will make your policy a little more expensive, so it might be better to just get short-term travel insurance for your visit to the USA).
Here is a table comparing your plan options:
Cigna’s plans are flexible, allowing you to add whatever you need (which includes things like dental and eye care or international evacuation and crisis assistance).
The company also has a flexible payment policy that offers different options like annual, monthly and quarterly payments.
What I like about international health insurance for Cigna Global Students:
- Quick response to complaints (according to the company, 95% of refund requests are received within 10 days)
- An online help center providing access to a list of over 3,000 hospitals plus information guides
- Cigna has partnerships with more than 1.65 million hospitals, doctors, clinics and specialists around the world, which gives a range of options to the customer who needs medical care.
- 24/7 assistance to answer any of your questions
What I don’t like about Cigna Global’s International Student Health Insurance:
- The most basic plan does not cover prenatal and postnatal care
- They do not include coverage for outpatient consultations with specialists and doctors.
Now Health International has emerged as a leader in the global insurance market, with a strong commitment to fulfilling its clients’ needs through efficient and cost-effective insurance plans.
One of the notable advantages of this company is its exceptional customer service, which delivers information promptly and conveniently.
All Now Health plans are designed with the aim of addressing and resolving the unique challenges faced by foreigners living in another country, including international students and exchange students worldwide.
Moreover, these plans are fully customizable, allowing for a perfect fit that caters to all of your individual requirements.
What I like about Now Health International Student Plans:
- Clear information and 24/7 customer service
- Coverage in over 190 countries and territories
- Various international insurance options and customizable plans
- Some plans offer coverage for maternity routines
What I don’t like about Now Health International Student Plans:
- In some procedures, Now Health works with a reimbursement system
- For plans with routine maternity coverage, you must wait a 12-month waiting period to access this benefit
Basic or Premium? Short or long term stay in Switzerland? Alone or with the family? You can find these and many other options in Foyer Global Health’s plans. Some will work for you!
The company has 3 different plans. Here’s a quick summary of what each of these plans includes:
- Consultations, surgery and anesthetics
- Therapeutic devices (such as cardiac pacemakers) if needed as a rescue measure
- Congenital diseases (up to a maximum of €100,000 per life)
- Does not cover maternity and childbirth
- Consultations, surgery and anesthetics
- Auxiliaries and therapeutic devices (such as artificial limbs and prostheses) up to €2,000
- Congenital diseases up to a maximum of €150,000 per life
- Maternity and childbirth care (up to €5,000 with a waiting period of 10 months)
- Consultations, surgery and anesthetics
- Unlimited therapeutic devices
- Congenital diseases up to a maximum of €200,000 per life
- Maternity care, childbirth care and midwifery or nursing services at the hospital (up to €20,000 with a 10 month waiting period)
What I like about Foyer Global Health plans:
- Plans include consultations, surgeries and basic dental treatments
- 24/7 customer service by phone or email with experienced consultants, doctors and specialists
- They offer evacuation and repatriation service
- They offer medical support and pre-trip advice (vaccinations, preparation of a first aid kit)
What I don’t like about Foyer Global Health plans:
- Your most basic plan does not include prenatal and postnatal care
HCCMIS is another company offering insurance for full-time students and away-from-home scholars (along with the usual travel insurance sales).
These are the 4 levels of student health insurance coverage they offer (they all work great for Switzerland!):
- Offers the lowest deductibles and the highest maximum coverage
- Six-month wait for pre-existing conditions to be covered
- Sports coverage for club/intercollegiate activities
- Covers personal liability
- Six-month waiting period before a pre-existing condition can be covered
- Optional Crisis Response pilot for rescue, your personal belongings and crisis fees
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions starts 12 months after purchasing the insurance
- Mid-tier benefits and higher deductible (for a lower monthly fee overall)
- Lowest cost plan (with the lowest corresponding benefits)
- Highest deductibles of all plans
- Does not cover club sports
- Can only cover a pre-existing condition in its acute onset
Here is a comparison of the 4 HCC StudentSecure plans (click to see the full chart):
What I like about HCCMIS StudentSecure plans:
- Emergency dental care (in the event of an accident) up to a maximum of US$250 per tooth and a maximum of US$500 during the certification period
- Savings plan if you pay the full amount before
- One of the cheapest plans on this list
What I don’t like about HCCMIS StudentSecure plans:
- Does not have coverage for pre-existing conditions in the Smart plan
- There is a six-month waiting period for coverage of pre-existing conditions (even if you subscribe to the Elite plan)
- Only in the Elite plan is there coverage for vaccines
- There is no maternity and nursery coverage for newborns on the Smart plan
- Your low-cost plans may have high deductibles
3 International Health Insurance Companies that can also be used by International Students in Switzerland!
The two companies mentioned below do not offer specific health insurance for those studying abroad. Instead, they offer international health insurance that will (almost certainly) be accepted by your school or university as proof of coverage.
So my advice is that you ask for a quote from these two companies and compare it to the quote you got from the companies listed above. If you find that one of these two companies offers good coverage at a lower price than the other options, check with your Swiss school or university to see if they accept this type of policy.
If they do, this is a great chance to save money before venturing into your new home!
– Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International of Global Underwriters
Global Underwriters has international health insurance plans for many types of travelers, including exchange students.
When it comes to GU plans, the most recommended is Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International for international students in Switzerland.
What I like about Global Underwriters plans:
- Have coverage for medical evacuations, emergency dentistry and repatriation of mortal remains
- The Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International plans provide coverage of up to $1,000,000
- In addition to medical coverage, the plans offer assistance in the event of lost luggage and travel interruption.
- 24/7 customer service
What I don’t like about Global Underwriters plans:
- Diplomat International plan does not cover Covid-19
- The Diplomat Long Term plan does not cater for students residing in Australia and Iran, as well as New York, Maryland, South Dakota (but this is not an issue if you are going to Switzerland!)
- Plans can be a little more expensive than others on this list.
Geoblue is another great alternative if you are looking for a health insurance to cover you while studying in Switzerland.
What I like about Geoblue’s international health insurance:
- Very adaptable and flexible plans based on your individual needs
- 24/7 customer service
- Some of their plans cover extras like evacuation, preventative medical appointments, and maternity care.
- It is possible to add ophthalmology and dentistry services
- The Xplorer plan has no maximum medical coverage, covers extreme sports, does not charge deductibles for standard services, and has no cancellation fees
What I don’t like about Geoblue’s international health insurance:
- They do not serve residents of New York and Washington (although this is not a problem if you are going to Switzerland)
- You need to speak to an insurance broker in person to get an accurate quote (which is very annoying)
Aetna is a very renowned company in the field of health insurance.
One nice thing about it is that their plans are pretty flexible (you can customize based on what you need), and they have really good customer service.
What I like about Aetna’s international health insurance:
- They’ve been in the health insurance industry for 50 years
- Flexible and customized plans
- Expert service every day, seven days a week
- Coverage for emergency evacuations, cancer treatments, repatriation and hospitalizations
- They have already won awards such as “Health Insurer of the Year” and “Best International Private Health Insurance Provider”
- Application that helps customers maintain healthier habits with a points and rewards incentive system
What I don’t like about Aetna’s international health insurance:
- Their website is not very clear about the exact coverage of some of their plans.
- They don’t offer any kind of travel insurance plan.
Table comparison of the 7 best health insurance plans for international/exchange students in Switzerland
|Medical Maximum||Unlimited (for the Platinum plan)||$5,000,000||There are no limits independent of the plan||US$1,000,000 per year||$1,000,000|
|Mental Health Benefit||Unspecified||Unlimited for up to 90 days||Included in all plans with a 10-month waiting period||Outpatient: $50 per day max up to $500 in total||Yes|
|Inpatient Prescription Drugs||80% coverage out-of-network, 100% in the USA and internationally||Unspecified||Coverage available||Name-brand drugs: 50% coinsurance
Generic drugs: 100% coinsurance
Special drugs: no coverage
|Outpatient Prescription Drugs||50% of actual costs, 90 days maximum per dispensation||Unspecified||Unspecified||coinsurance
Generic drugs: 100% coinsurance
Special drugs: no coverage
|Mental Health Benefit||Inpatient and Outpatient: $5,000 lifetime maximum to paid in full depending on the plan||Inpatient and Outpatient: $50,000 lifetime maximum||None||Inpatient and Outpatient: limit not specified||Inpatient, outpatient, and therapy: limit not specific|
|Outpatient Prescription Drugs||None, unless you buy the International Outpatient Option||Up to $8,000,000||Full reimbursement||Yes||Yes|
|Repatriation of Remains||$25,000 maximum or $5,000 for cremation||Optional||Optional||$50,000 maximum or $5,000 for cremation||$13,500 maximum|
|Hospital room coverage||Offered up to the average semi-private room rate||Private room||Private Room||Usual||Usual|
|Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD & D)||Principal sum of $25,000 that is not subject to deduction||$25,000 for main policy holder, $10,000 for spouse on the plan, $5,000 for child on the plan
Total limit of $250,000
|Optional||$25,000 for main policy holder, $10,000 for spouse on the plan, $5,000 for child on the plan
Total limit of $250,000
|There is coverage|
|Emergency Dental||$500 per injury for the coverage period||Optional||Optional||$2,500||Yes|
|Maternity Care||Only covered in Platinum plan||$14,000/€11,000/£9,000 in the Platinum plan||Only available in the Special and Exclusive plans||Within the US: up to 80% coverage with a $25,000 limit within the PPO network/Outside PPO: up to 50% coverage with a $25,000 limit
Outside the United States:
Up to 80% coverage with a $25,000 limit. Benefits reduced by 25% if pregnancy is not reported within the first 90 days.
|Pre-existing condition exclusion period||Maximum limit of $1,500 with a 12-month waiting period||$14,000/€11,000/£9,000 in the Platinum plan||Coverage available||Limited of $250,000 per plan||Unspecified|
|Intensive Care Unit (ICU)||100% coverage after the deductible has been met||Full coverage with the Platinum plan||Coverage available||Up to $50,000||Not specified|
|Vaccines||Unspecified||Optional||Only in the Special and Exclusive plans||$200||Yes, but must be paid as a separate plan|
|Routine care for newborns||Unspecified||Optional||Only in the Special and Exclusive plans||Up to $750||Yes, but must be paid as a separate plan|
|Pre-existing annual maximum once covered||Unlimited depending on the plan||Up to $8,000,000||Full reimbursement||Unlimited depending on the plan||Depends on the plan|
|Pre-existing lifetime maximum once covered||Unlimited depending on the plan||Up to $8,000,000||Full reimbursement||Unlimited depending on the plan||Depends on the plan|
Worldwide Medical Insurance / Comparison Chart*
Part of the table courtesy of Tokio Marine HCC
*Note: this table is just for informational purposes and subject to change. It was accurate as of the time we wrote it here, but please check each company’s individual website for updated info.
Visas and Documents Needed to Study in Switzerland
The first step in moving to Switzerland is to have an admission letter or proof of acceptance from a university or institution where you are going to study in the country. In addition, even to obtain some visas or residence permits, it is necessary to present the contracting of health insurance.
After getting the bond with your institution, you need to apply for a visa to enter the country depending on your country of origin. For example, citizens of the European Union, the European Free Trade Association or the European Economic Area do not need a visa to study or live in Switzerland, just register in the city of residence within 14 days of arrival.
For citizens of some countries outside Europe, it is necessary to apply for a student visa at the Swiss embassy or consulate in your country of origin in advance.
For students, there are two types of visas that can be applied for:
- Type C Visa: Ideal for programs that last up to 90 days, such as summer courses, seminars or languages, as it has a short validity.
- Type D Visa: Long-term visa, up to one year, which can be extended. It gives freedom to transit throughout the Schengen Area.
The documents required to apply for a visa must be submitted in your native language and also in French, English, German or Italian. Are they:
- Three completed and signed visa application forms
- Four 3×4 photos
- Letter of admission from a Swiss educational institution
- Document proving payment of enrollment or other fees
- Bank statement to prove the financial conditions of staying in the country
- In case of scholarship, present proof
- Letter of interest
- Written statement that you will leave the country upon completion of your studies
It is interesting to check with the Swiss embassy in your country of origin whether a visa is required to enter the country, as citizens of some nations do not need an entry visa even if they are not from Europe.
In case you do not need a visa, the embassy will also help you with the necessary bureaucracy for your entry into Switzerland.
The 4 Best Universities to Study in Switzerland
Switzerland is a country that has several renowned institutions, with above average teaching, these are some of the best universities in the country:
1. ETH, Zurich: The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology unites government universities and research institutes. This university was founded in 1854 and focuses on science, mathematics, technology and engineering.
In the 2022 ranking of the best universities in the world, ETH ranked eighth, in addition to being selected as the fourth best in all of Europe and first place in the field of engineering and technology.
For Swiss students, ETH is obliged to accept all those who have taken the Matura, the country’s high school leaving exam. As for citizens of foreign countries, it is necessary to take a reduced or complete entrance exam.
If you are interested, it is interesting to check the university’s website frequently for more information and application periods.
2. University of Zurich: This is the largest university in Switzerland and offers courses such as economics, law, philosophy, mathematics, natural sciences, veterinary medicine and medicine.
Undergraduate courses are mostly offered in Swiss Standard German, but many are changing their teaching plans to use English.
On the website of the University of Zurich you can find more information, such as facts, museums, libraries, news, events, application deadlines and others.
3. Lausanne Federal Polytechnic School: Specialized in engineering and natural sciences, this is a university that has research, education and innovation as its three main pillars.
You can find out more about research, the campus, the education system and enrollment on the university’s website.
4. University of Geneva: It is part of the Coimbra Group, a network of the 39 most prestigious and oldest universities across Europe.
Several faculties spread around the main building on the university campus. It offers more than 240 types of degrees and 150 graduate programs.
It is also possible to access the portal of this university for more information.
How to Study in Switzerland
To study in Switzerland, there is no entrance exam or universal procedure, that is, you need to go directly to the website of the University you are interested in to ask questions, enroll or stay up to date with deadlines and bureaucracy.
The country’s government has a partnership system with certain nations, granting many research and postgraduate scholarships, so if you want to go to Switzerland as a researcher, you can apply for this financial aid by contacting the Swiss embassy in your country. home country.
Some universities also offer grants or loans for undergraduate programs, but it is necessary to check availability or bureaucracy to get them on the website of the college you are interested in.
Once again, these are the 5 best and cheapest travel insurance policies for international students in Switzerland:
- Student Health Advantage from IMG
- International health insurance for Cigna Global students
- Now Health International
- Foyer Global Health
- Insurance StudentSecure da HCCMIS
Finally… As you prepare for your time as an international student in Switzerland, make sure that health insurance isn’t something you forget about.
After all, you might not be able to apply to college without it… and you don’t want to be stuck paying out-of-pocket medical expenses!
If you still have any questions about these travel insurance options for students in Switzerland (or moving abroad in general), let me know in the comments area below and I’ll be happy to help!
Planning your next trip?