Red Cross

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WHERE CAN I FIND A LIST OF ENGLISH-SPEAKING PHYISICIANS?

If you have moved to Basel with a company and have relocation services available, they should be able to provide you with a list of English-speaking physicians.

If you know of and would like to recommend another resource please let us know.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO PAY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE?

Health insurance is mandatory in Switzerland and is structured very much like an traditional Major Medical plan in the US, in that it has a relatively high annual deductible and it covers all or a high percentage of major medical expenses (e.g., hospitalization).

Unlke the US, where employers typical cover some or all of the cost of health insurance for its employees, in Switzerland, individuals are responsible for paying their health insurance. You can argue the pros and cons of this system over a few beers, but the fact remains that it is an extra cost for most Americans. How much of an extra cost varies, primarily based on your location (Basel-land rates are less expensive than Basel-stadt) and number of people insured. As two non-smoking* adults in their mid-thirties living in Basel-stadt, we pay around 700 CHF per month. This rate is from SWICA (Elisabethenstrasse 43, 4010 Basel, 061 270 66 66) with high deductable and “COMPLETA TOP” (one of two optional upgrades). These upgrades allow you to increase your plan flexibility (e.g., choice of hospitals and/or physicians) and service (e.g., semi-private or private rooms). According to a friend, adding their new baby to the plan costs them around 150 CHF additional per month.

*Second-hand smoke excluded…but that’s another story.

ARE SWISS HOSPITALS GOOD?

Yes. Of all the things that may be worrying you upon moving to Switzerland, the quality of Basel hospitals should not be one of them. Hospitals are impeccably clean, provide excellent medical care, and some (Bethesda) are even rumored to have first-class cuisine. The Basel Canton-spital is also the University Hospital and has an excellent reputation.

WHERE CAN I BUY MEDICINE LIKE ADVIL AND OTHER OVER-THE-COUNTER PRODUCTS?

Unlike the US, over-the-counter (OTC, available without a prescription) medicines like Advil, Sudafed, Tagament, Pepto-bismal and others are not available in the supermarket. Instead you’ll have to head to the Pharmacie (distinguished around Switzerland and Europe by a green cross).

Note that not all products that are available OTC in the US are sold under the same name in Switzerland. When possible, bring the package from the product and be prepared to provide the active ingredient (e.g., ibuprofen for Advil) to help the pharmacist determine what you are looking for.

Because this can be a somewhat difficult process – especially when you aren’t feeling well! – it is a good idea to stock up on common medicines when you visit the US.

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