A Comparison between the United States and Switzerland Healthcare Systems


While the United States healthcare system is known for its non-standard design due to the different states having different policies, the healthcare system in Switzerland is famous for its uniformity. The country has a unique healthcare system that is customer-driven and it has achieved offering universal coverage to all the people in the country despite the population being characterized by major demographical differences

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Healthcare Access for Children, the Unemployed and the Retired

Chin et al. (2018) state that the United States has a trend of changing and introducing medical reforms, which interfere with the delivery of healthcare services to its people and more so the children, unemployed, and the retired. Even so, the current Health Act offers about USD $5 billion to cater for the most vulnerable members of society such as retirees and children. In the case of retirees, the Act ensures that their spouses and children below the age of 18 are catered for and this lifts this major burden from these people. In the United States, the unemployed are encouraged to get their medical plans in the marketplace with their saving and based on their income and their size of their families. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid enable children from low-income children and more so children of color to get some basic medical plans. However, even though this has helped improve the lives of the unemployed and retirees in the U.S., the Swiss have a better healthcare act that caters for children, retirees, and the unemployed. In Switzerland, employees’ retirement fund is characteristic of contributions from when the employees’ pension plan becomes operational (Mantwill & Schulz, 2017). In addition, they are catered for by being encouraged to save through an incentive that allows tax-free personal savings that are identical to the IRA accounts in the United States. The country also has a better healthcare delivery for its retired populations, the unemployed, and children because of the arrangement that sees all employed save towards a fund while they are still in employment. As compared to the United States, retirees in Switzerland receive higher percentages of the salaries they were receiving while in employment through a basic pension plan that can add up to USD $1750 each month.

Medical Coverage between the United States and Switzerland Systems

The healthcare systems of the two nations differ in that they offer their populations different capabilities to access and consume healthcare services. In the U.S., only about 10 percent of the population is able to buy their own medical insurance while the rest have to get medical insurance from their employers (Schusselé et al., 2018). In Switzerland, the government requires all citizens to purchase their personal medical cover. The fact that people purchase their cover makes it cheaper because this system eliminates intermediaries and this ensures that no citizen spends more than 10 percent of their income in paying for medical services especially buying medicine. The Swiss government introduced regulations similar to Medicare that aim at controlling healthcare services cost across the country. This means that health insurance firms are obligated by the law to charge similar rates whether the insured is a young or an old person. This law also ensures that the older generation is protected against being charged highly or excluded from medical covers because of pre-existing conditions.

Requirements to Getting Referral

In the U.S., one is required to have a written order for referrals in order to see a doctor. In addition to this, in many health maintenance organizations patients are required to have a referral from medical experts in order to access healthcare services (Schusselé et al., 2018). Failure to get a referral results in the medical cover plan not taking responsibility for the services offered to the patient. This is different in what happens in Switzerland where referrals do not have strict requirements. Since medical insurances in Switzerland are personal, one has the privilege of determining the referral of their choice. 

Coverage for Preexisting Conditions

The current laws in the United States require insurance providers to cover all patients irrespective of whether one has a pre-existing condition or not. This means that health insurance companies do not have the liberty to charge clients with preexisting conditions more, for them to get medical covers. Some preexisting conditions that are tolerated include diabetes, asthma, and cancer (Mantwill & Schulz, 2017). One with a preexisting condition cannot be denied benefits for whatever reason. These same conditions apply in Switzerland whereby all people in the country have the liberty to be treated regardless of any preexisting conditions they might be having. 

Financial Implications Affecting Patients

Schusselé et al. (2018) contend that the United States healthcare system affects the economy of the country negatively. Research shows that the country has spent more on social insurance than it should have, which has affected the economy badly. For example, America spends an average of $10,367 per individual and this is equivalent to 18 percent of the country’s GDP. This figure is eight times more than what Switzerland spends on healthcare. This is a major burden to the country’s economic standing (Schusselé et al., 2018). The government needs to come up with ways that can help reduce this amount without compromising the quality of healthcare services the citizens can access.  


From the above discussion, one can deduce that the Switzerland healthcare system is characterized by measures that make it more favorable to its citizens than the system in the United States that has major terms that do not favor the people.  Many people in the United states are not able to access high quality medical services and the government should implement measures to resolve this health issue. For instance, they should consider shifting the control of health investments from the government to its citizens. 


Mantwill, S., & Schulz, P. (2017). Low Health Literacy And Healthcare Utilization Among

Immigrants And Non-Immigrants In Switzerland. Patient Education And Counseling, 100(11), 2020–2027. DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2017.05.023.

Schusselé Filliettaz, S., Berchtold, P., Kohler, D., & Peytremann-Bridevaux, I. (2018). IntegratedCare In Switzerland: Results From The First Nationwide Survey. Health Policy, 122(6), 568–576. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2018.03.006.

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