PHD Student Health Insurance in Switzerland

Navigating the complex landscape of health insurance in Switzerland is a critical task for PhD students embarking on their academic journeys. Access to accurate information and understanding the nuances of coverage options, exemptions, and policies become paramount in ensuring a secure and worry-free study period. The Swiss healthcare system is renowned for its high standards, but it also requires individuals to actively participate in selecting the right health insurance plan. 

This obligation stems from the legal mandate that everyone residing in Switzerland must have health insurance, including international students. The process involves engaging with social services, insurance offices, and sometimes, legal advisors to comprehend the full spectrum of available options. Additionally, the digital age brings resources closer through online platforms and social media, where students can gather insights and share experiences regarding health insurance intricacies.

For PhD students, the stakes are even higher, as their tenure in Switzerland might span several years, during which they could encounter various health-related scenarios ranging from routine check-ups to emergency hospital visits. The health insurance card becomes an asset, serving not just as proof of insurance but as a key to accessing a wide array of healthcare services. Understanding the policy details, including what constitutes an accident versus a regular medical condition, can significantly affect the coverage received. 


Why is Health Insurance Important for PHD Students in Switzerland?

Safety Net Against High Medical Costs

Health insurance forms a safety net for PhD students in Switzerland, safeguarding them from the financial risks associated with high medical costs. Given the country’s expensive healthcare system, the absence of proper insurance could lead to substantial economic strain, especially for foreign students adjusting to new living conditions. By securing health insurance, students ensure they can access essential healthcare services—from routine check-ups to complex medical procedures—without the stress of financial hardship. 

High-Quality Medical Care and Assistance in Switzerland

Switzerland’s healthcare system is celebrated worldwide for its excellence, offering high-quality medical care that encompasses specialized treatments and comprehensive preventive care. For PhD students, having health insurance is not just a legal requirement but a gateway to accessing this top-tier medical assistance. It ensures that during their stay, regardless of their health needs, they receive the best possible care without undue delay. 

Additionally, the option to choose plans with additional coverage means that students can tailor their health policies to fit their specific needs, enhancing their overall well-being and peace of mind during their academic pursuits. This can all be done via the contact form on the website of the provider. 

Additional Coverage Options

The ability to customize health insurance plans with additional coverage options provides a comprehensive safety net for PhD students, ensuring their health and well-being are fully protected throughout their academic journey. This flexibility is important, as it allows students to adapt their coverage to include services like dental care, mental health support, and alternative medicine—areas that are increasingly recognized as essential components of overall health. 


For many students, particularly those coming from abroad, navigating the options for supplemental coverage is a new experience. It involves a detailed search for information, understanding the forms of coverage available, and making informed decisions that align with their health needs, study duration, and residence status. The initial months of settling into a new country and academic environment underscore the importance of having comprehensive health insurance. It not only facilitates a smoother transition by ensuring access to necessary medical services but also helps in securing the required health permits that affirm their legal status to stay and study in Switzerland.


What is Included in Health Insurance Packages for PHD Students?

Breakdown of Basic Medical Services in This Plan

As we have mentioned before, Health insurance is compulsory during your stay in Switzerland. You have 3 months from the date of your official arrival in Switzerland (as indicated on your residence permit) to take out a policy or request an exemption.

Standard health insurance packages for PhD students cover essential medical services, such as general practitioner visits, hospitalization, emergency services, and basic maternity care.


Additional Benefits and Services Included in the Tailored Coverage


Tailored packages may also include preventive health measures, vaccinations, psychotherapy sessions, and even coverage for medical services abroad, ensuring students are fully protected.

All of this information can be given when filling out the contact form on the website. If you need any more information, feel free to contact us at Evasan. 

What are the Differences in Health Insurance Plans for PHD/Master and Bachelor Students?


Before we dive into the differences, we need to have the needed information for the possible exemptions. According to the article on the University Of Zurich website, You can apply for an exemption if…

you are legally insured by an EU state and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Please note: If you have a work contract with UZH (i.e. are an employed PhD candidate) you cannot apply for an exemption with your EHIC and need to get a Swiss health insurance. It is important to note that PHD who have a salary of CHF 4’000 or more do not try to buy insurance online because they will be refused by the canton. In that case, EVASAN should refund the premium even though, at the time of concluding the contract, it was not informed about the academic status of the insurance proposer. As soon as you are employed in Switzerland, your EU health insurance can deny paying your claim.

You are covered by a private insurance (without coverage limit!) from an EU or non-EU country
Please note: No insurance policy with a maximum coverage or a coverage limit will be accepted as equivalent to Swiss health insurance. If your insurance sets a maximum coverage, you will not be eligible for an exemption from the Swiss health insurance obligation.

You take out a special health insurance package for international students.


Different medical insurance plans

PhD and master’s students often have access to more comprehensive health insurance plans compared to Bachelor students, reflecting their potentially longer duration of study and specific health needs.

Difference between costs of premiums and franchise

Premium: It is a regular payment that you make to the insurance company to maintain your insurance. Premiums can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, depending on the terms of your policy. You can choose which period suits you for paying. The amount of the premium is determined by various factors, including the type and amount of coverage, your year, your location and your insurance history. 

Franchise: Franchise is the amount you agree to pay out of your pocket before you send your insurance company a request. For example, if you have a CHF 500 franchise on your student insurance policy and you break your arm causing a CHF 2’000 bill, you would pay the first  CHF 500 and your insurance would cover the remaining CHF 1,500. The franchise lasts for one year and is not compounded. 


Medical insurance outside of Switzerland

Insurance plans for PhD students may include coverage for research-related going abroad, a feature less commonly available to Bachelor or master’s students. Make sure to find the provider that will include this if your job/ PhD includes research-related travel.

Which Factors Determine the Price of Health Insurance Plans for PHD Students?

Type of Coverage

The extent of medical services covered significantly impacts the insurance premium. More comprehensive plans have higher costs. Of course, with those costs come a lot of other benefits, but you should inform yourself properly before getting additional coverage. 

Duration of Coverage

Longer coverage periods can affect the overall cost, with some insurers offering discounts for extended contracts. PhD students often tend to stay longer in the country, mostly because they are in most cases employed and already work in the country.

Premium Level

The chosen deductible and co-payment levels influence the premium. Higher franchise can lower monthly costs but increase out-of-pocket expenses during medical treatment. This is one of the main reasons why Evasan offers the CHF 0 franchise package, making your pocket untouched in case of an emergency, medical assistance or hospitalization. 

Employment Status of a PHD Student

Employed PhD students unfortunately do not have any contribution from the company that they work at, as well as the university. This is not as problematic like the bachelor or master students, since most of the PhD students already have a stable job. 

What is the Average Cost of PHD Student Insurance?

The average cost varies widely depending on the factors above, with premiums ranging from a few hundred to over a thousand Swiss Francs per month. It’s essential to compare options to find the most suitable coverage.


Health insurance is a critical aspect of a PhD student’s life in Switzerland, offering protection against unforeseen medical expenses and access to quality healthcare. It’s vital for students to prioritize and adhere to the insurance requirements tailored to their specific needs.

How can We Help?

Evasan offers the CHF 0 Franchise plan tailored for the students coming to high school, bachelor or master studies and PhD studies. Without having to pay anything directly to the medical institution you will have a lot less worries during your stay in Switzerland. 

Make sure to inform yourself properly on our website and check what the prices will be for your plan on our form on the website


For example, a company that offers a monthly premium of CHF 100 with a CHF 500 Franchise can be more expensive in the long run than the CHF 0 Franchise with a CHF 112 monthly premium. This is because in case of a medical bill you will have a yearly expense of CHF 1700, compared to CHF 1344 for a year for the 0 Franchise. 


How to Purchase International PHD Student Health Insurance?

Purchasing international health insurance requires researching various providers, comparing plans, and selecting coverage that meets both legal requirements and personal health needs. Assistance is available through educational institutions and insurance advisors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In Switzerland, PhD student health insurance must adhere to the minimum legal requirements set by the Swiss government, ensuring coverage of essential medical services. This includes access to general practitioners, emergency services, hospitalization, and basic preventive care. For a policy to qualify, it must also offer the flexibility to include additional coverage tailored to the specific needs of doctoral students. Many students opt for policies through providers like Swisscare, known for offering plans that cater specifically to the international academic community. These plans consider the unique health needs and security concerns of PhD students, often requiring a detailed search through various canton office regulations to ensure compliance.

PhD students can apply for the required health insurance by directly contacting insurance providers, many of which have streamlined the process through online enrollment options. Additionally, universities and educational institutions provide support services to facilitate this application process. 

These services often include providing students with a copy of the necessary forms, guiding them on how to fill them out, and advising on the specific insurance requirements of their canton. Swiss universities also often host informational sessions or provide news updates regarding changes in health insurance policies, helping students to stay informed and secure in their health insurance coverage.

PhD students who fail to obtain the necessary health insurance face several consequences, including financial penalties that can impact their security and stability in Switzerland. The inability to access healthcare services not only puts their health at risk but can also interfere with their education and research. 

Additionally, lacking proper insurance may lead to complications with residency permits, as health insurance coverage is a prerequisite for legal residence in many cantons. This underscores the importance of maintaining an active insurance account, ensuring that coverage is not just adequate but fully compliant with Swiss regulations.

Yes, exemptions to the mandatory health insurance requirement are available for PhD students from certain countries or those with existing equivalent coverage from their home country. These students must provide a copy of their insurance policy to the relevant canton office for verification. If approved, this exemption allows them to bypass the need for a Swiss insurance plan. 

Alternatively, private insurance plans offering comparable or superior coverage to the mandatory health insurance can be considered. Students are encouraged to conduct a thorough search and consult with their educational institution’s office to ensure that any alternative or exemption meets the legal requirements and provides sufficient security during their doctoral studies.

It is recommended that PhD students review and renew their health insurance plans annually. This ensures that their coverage remains adequate and reflects any changes in their health needs, legal requirements, or doctoral program status. Keeping their insurance account up to date is compulsory for maintaining uninterrupted access to healthcare services and compliance with Swiss residency regulations. Educational institutions often provide reminders and assistance with this process, ensuring that students have the latest information and support needed to manage their health insurance effectively.

For PhD students seeking coverage beyond the minimum requirements, supplemental options are available, including enhanced dental care, optical care services, and international coverage. These additional options provide an extra layer of security and peace of mind, allowing students to tailor their health insurance to their personal and professional needs. Students interested in these supplemental options should contact their insurance provider to discuss the available plans and how they can be integrated into their existing policy.

The Swiss healthcare system ensures that all individuals, including PhD students with minimum insurance coverage, have access to necessary emergency services. This means that in the event of an accident or sudden illness, students can receive the care they need without delay, regardless of the specifics of their coverage. Insurance plans typically account for such emergencies, providing students with the security of knowing that they can access high-quality medical care in critical situations. Students should always keep a copy of their insurance card on hand and be aware of the procedures for seeking emergency care within their canton, ensuring a swift response when needed.


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