Health insurance


Mandatory insurance

According to the LAMal (federal health insurance law), insurance for healthcare coverage in cases of sickness is compulsory. Accident insurance is included in mandatory cover, but can be suspended for those employed for over eight hours per week, who are mandatorily covered by the LAA (federal accident insurance law).

  • Federal health insurance law - LAMal 
  • Federal accident insurance law - LAA 

Mandatory insurance supervision authority

The Cantonal Health Insurance Office (OCAM) is responsible for ensuring that mandatory insurance obligations are met across the Canton of Neuchâtel. The corresponding authorities for other cantons are listed on the site of the Consumers' Federation of French-speaking Switzerland (FRC).

Deadline for health insurance cover

You must be insured within three months of taking residence; so long as this deadline is met, you will be covered from the beginning of your residence period. If you are late in obtaining insurance (more than three months after taking residence), your cover will only apply from the date on which it was obtained. Unless you can explain your failure to meet the deadline, you will be required to pay a premium surcharge.

Compare premiums on the following sites:

Notification of health insurance procedure

As soon as OCAM is advised of your arrival in the canton, it will send you an information letter requesting the name of your health insurance provider, unless your provider has already communicated to OCAM that you have taken out cover.

WARNING: if you do no respond to this letter, OCAM will arrange cover with one of the listed health insurance providers on your behalf, regardless of the costs of cover.

Saving money

Mandatory health insurance is a significant expenditure. Here are some ways to reduce the costs:

  • Be sure to check premiums every year, and select the option which gives you the most value for money. New premiums are published every year during the month of October, and can vary substantially. Basic insurance provides the same services for everyone, regardless of the insurance company.
  • Request a subsidy: cantons grant full and partial subsidies for contributions to compulsory insurance, so long as your income does not exceed a given limit. In the canton of Neuchâtel, applications must be made by way of the Guichets sociaux régionaux (GSR); for other cantons, you will need to contact the relevant cantonal office.
  • Select a cover plan with a higher deductible, or an alternative insurance model (such as the family doctor model).
  • Avoid hospitalisation in a canton where you are not domiciled.

Useful links