Health insurance companies in comparison – How the health systems work abroad – News


From a uniform health insurance fund to no health insurance fund at all – health systems differ from country to country.

A stay in hospital after an accident, the usual visit to the family doctor or medication for pain – people in Switzerland rarely pay the costs themselves and directly. Health insurance covers a lot.

Health insurance in Switzerland briefly explained

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In Switzerland, the basic insurance mandatory. It offers all insured persons the same range of benefits. The health insurance companies must also treat all insured persons equally and may not refuse anyone. The providers are freely selectable. The tills can be changed every year until the end of November.

Compulsory health care insurance is covered by contributions from the insured (bonuses), federal and cantonal funds (premium reduction) as well as co-payments by the insured. The latter consist of a deductible, hospital contribution and franchise.

The franchise is the contribution that you have to make to the treatment costs. The insured can choose between deductibles of over 300 to 2,500 francs. This means they cover at least the first CHF 300 and at most the first CHF 2,500 of their treatment costs themselves.

The deductible comes into play as soon as the selected franchise is exhausted. From then on, insured persons only have to pay ten percent of the treatment costs, but no more than CHF 700 per year.

Under the compulsory basic insurance there is different models such as the free choice of doctor, family doctor or telemedicine models. Additional insurance can be attached.

In the 1990s, the new health insurance law promised a solidary system and low costs. But there was also criticism of this. The system change is always up for discussion.

Denmark: In principle, everyone in the Scandinavian Kingdom is covered by Danish public health insurance. The system is highly centralized. There is only one state health insurance company. The benefits are financed through income tax. Denmark relies in particular on so-called super hospitals and the digitization of the healthcare system. As in most countries, private health insurance can be taken out in addition to the basic state care. Almost half of the population is also privately insured.

Italy: In 1978, our southern neighbor created a state health service. The system is mainly financed by regional taxes. Local public actors are responsible for the organisation. Usually only predetermined medical practices are available. General practitioners and paediatricians as well as emergencies are free of charge. There is a deductible for professionals. Long waiting times and regional differences in the quality of services are repeatedly criticized.

Pattern types of health care systems

State Health Service

social security system

private system

How financed?


social security contributions

Personal Expenses

Who provides?

Public facilities

Public and private providers

For-profit companies

Regulated by what?


State and private actors

free market

Germany: The German system is to some extent comparable to Switzerland. There is statutory health insurance, which is operated by around 100 health insurers. These are organized as public corporations and compete with each other. Most insured persons are free to choose their insurance company. Aside from federal grants based on taxes and other revenues, the system is funded through contributions, half of which are funded by employees and half by employers. The contributions vary depending on income (with an upper limit) and from fund to fund. Unlike in Switzerland, the region, age or an alternative insurance model usually has no influence on the contributions.


The health insurance system in Switzerland is also one of the most expensive and best health systems in the world.

Getty Images/Jon Schulte

France: Our western neighbor’s healthcare system is also based on compulsory health insurance. However, there are various health insurance companies for employees, farmers, the self-employed or, for example, civil servants. The system is financed from taxes, social security contributions and contributions. The latter depend on income (no upper limit) and are set by the state. The contributions are currently mainly borne by the employer. In France, the family doctor is generally the first point of contact.

USA: According to OECD analysis the United States leads the way when it comes to healthcare spending. The system is mostly privatized. Although there are several government health plans for seniors, for example, the US does not have universal health insurance. Millions of people do not have health insurance because of the high costs and various hurdles in private insurance.

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