In Switzerland, all obligatory health insurance policies can be terminated at the end of each calendar year, allowing residents to switch to other insurers for lower premiums or better customer service. A one-month notice period is required. You must complete cancellation procedures by the end of November in order to terminate you insurance policy and prevent it from being extended for another year.
Second notice period till the end of March
Many policyholders do not know that they do not have to wait until the end of the year to switch insurance providers. That is, as long as their policy is based on the standard model (not the family doctor, telmed or HMO models) and the minimum deductible of 300 Swiss francs. This mid-year termination and sign-up period creates a secondary insurance season in addition to the main, year-end health insurance season.
Eligible policyholders can quit their policies at the end of June and begin their new policy at the beginning of July. Because a three-month notice period is required for mid-year termination, notice must be received by insurers by the last business day in March.
Note that regardless of when termination notices are submitted, they must be reviewed by insurers by the last business day in March. For this reason, it is important to send notice well before the end of the month – especially if you are posting your notice and not delivering it in person. If you want to stay on the safe side, post your notice using registered mail to ensure that it is received in person rather than placed in a mailbox.
Changing insurance models and deductibles
The lowest deductible available for mandatory Swiss health insurance is 300 Swiss francs for adults and 0 francs for children. The standard Swiss health insurance model allows you to receive treatment at any doctor without consulting a gatekeeper first. Policies which use the lowest deductible and the standard insurance model command the highest premiums. These are the policies which can be terminated mid-year.
If your policy has a higher deductible or is based on a managed care model which requires you to consult a gatekeeper before receiving further medical treatment, you must wait until the end of the year to terminate it.
Note that when you terminate your eligible policy mid-year, you can only take out a new policy which also uses the minimum deductible.
Switching health insurance models
You are free to move your policy to a managed care model at the end of each month. When you change insurance providers at the end of June, the part of your annual deductible which you have already made up at your previous insurer is accounted for.
Millions of residents are eligible for mid-year terminations
A surprisingly large number of residents are insured by standard health insurance policies. Statistics from The Swiss Federal Office for Public Health show that around 2.9 million residents use compulsory health insurance policies based on the standard model.
The lowest deductibles are the most popular in Switzerland, with more than fifty percent of policyholders choosing the lowest deductible for their basic health insurance. This is particularly the case with children, with ninety percent of child policies using the 0-franc deductible.
The number of policies which use both the standard model and the lowest deductible is also remarkably high. Around 410,000 policyholders below the age of 18 use this combination, while more than 90,000 young adults (below twenty-six) and more than 1 million adults hold standard policies with the lowest deductible. Altogether more than 1.5 million residents are eligible for a mid-year health insurance policy switch.
Savings potential is huge
If you hold an eligible policy and you missed the last end-of-year termination date or did not bother with it, consider comparing premiums ahead of the March deadline. You may be able to save hundreds of francs over the second half of the year by switching to a cheaper insurance provider.
The health insurance comparison on moneyland.ch provides a comprehensive, unbiased and free tool for comparing policies. It automatically calculates how much you can save by switching to other compulsory health insurance policies, deductibles and insurance models.