Your guide to health insurance in Liechtenstein
Thinking of moving to beautiful Liechtenstein? Situated between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein is a relatively small country famous for its high GDP and constitutional monarchy. Undoubtedly, you'll have countless questions about accessing the local healthcare system. Here at Pacific Prime, we will give you a snapshot of the healthcare system in Liechtenstein and your insurance options there.
Liechtenstein has a universal healthcare system funded by the national healthcare fund through mandatory contributions. Here, the Ministry of Public Health oversees all public health services, health insurance, pharmaceutical products, and food safety. Home to a small healthcare system, their health services are nonetheless high-quality and incredibly well-developed. However, you will still need to head to a hospital in Austria or Switzerland for complicated medical treatments.
There is only one hospital in Liechtenstein: the National Hospital, and it's located in the capital city of Vaduz. Run in conjunction with private doctors, it specializes in surgery, gynecology, internal medicine, obstetrics, and psychiatry. Emergency medical care is also free and available to all, even for those who are not insured. While all specialist treatments need a referral, you can bypass this in emergency situations.
You can find health centers all over Liechtenstein. They provide outpatient care, a wide variety of specialist services, and emergency medical aid. Outside of Vaduz, each town also has emergency services operated by general physicians, specialists, and ambulances.
Bad news if you suffer from serious medical conditions or complicated bone fractures. You'll need to be transferred to hospitals in neighboring Austria and Switzerland for specialized care. That's why it's important to secure an insurance plan.
It's important to note that abortion is illegal and punishable by prison in Liechtenstein. All abortions must be done in legal medical facilities in Switzerland or Austria.
Here, you won't have to worry about not being able to refill your prescriptions. Pharmacies are located all across Liechtenstein. Most importantly, there is a pharmacist on call at all times. You could phone in if you have any concerns about your medications. On top of that, prescription fees are also covered by the statutory health insurance.
There are 26 dental clinics in the entire country, but all are privately-owned. In other words, you must pay all for dental care in full and out-of-pocket.
In Liechtenstein, the healthcare system comprises both state healthcare and private healthcare. Universal public healthcare is available to all citizens and registered residents in Liechtenstein. Holders of EHIC can also enjoy the same benefits during their stay here. However, keep in mind that healthcare is not free even with insurance. You usually need to pay a partial cost for the treatment you receive.
National healthcare fund
All permanent residents and workers (including expats) must contribute to the health insurance fund. After registration, both employers and employees are required to contribute a portion of their salary to this fund. Then, they are free to enjoy Liechtenstein's high-quality medical services. There are around 10 insurers that offer state mandatory insurance.
Don't worry if you have non-working family members with you in Liechtenstein. Contributions made by employed family members also cover their dependent family members. Keep in mind that your dependents still need to register for health insurance individually. On the other hand, pensioners, residents receiving long-term sickness benefits or on maternity leave are exempted from paying.
What medical treatments are covered?
Under the national healthcare fund, most medical services are covered. This naturally includes regular check-ups with your general physician. It also covers hospitalization, prescriptions, pregnancy, childbirth and rehabilitation. While patients must share some costs for all specialist treatments from neighboring countries, the government shoulders most of the costs.
How much does it cost?
You'll need to pay a premium for your statutory health insurance plan, as well as any co-payments for the healthcare you access. The cost of the premiums varies depending on your insurance company, but they're usually around 300 to 320 Swiss francs per month.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Do you have an EHIC? If so, you can enjoy access to this healthcare system the same way Liechtenstein nationals do by paying 67 CHF. This approximates to one month's worth of state health insurance when you enter the country.
For state-run medical facilities like the National Hospital, you need an EHIC to avoid incurring full charges. Double-check to make sure your visit isn't counted as a private case rather than a state case! EHIC holders must pay 50% of the total medical fee, whereas pensioners receiving UK State Pension only need to pay 10% of the fee.
EHIC covers your costs for up to 90 days of your stay in Liechtenstein. Then, you must register to qualify for the same healthcare entitlements as the residents. This way, you can start contributing to the national healthcare fund. It is also mandatory that you apply for the residence permit. However, it's only valid for 5 years, and the conditions can be incredibly restrictive.
Private international health insurance
Private insurance is your best bet if you are neither a national nor an EHIC holder. Resident permits are hard to come by in Liechtenstein. Thus, you must foot your own medical bills when accidents happen. This makes it a good idea to secure a comprehensive international insurance plan before you relocate.
Many Liechtenstein residents also top-up with an additional private health insurance plan (or OKP) with government registered and regulated insurers. This way, those with special healthcare needs can add supplementary services with varying private contribution rates.
With only one hospital in the nation, delays in accessing urgent medical care are inevitable. We recommend an insurance plan that covers your repatriation costs. If you are injured, you would want to receive the best care for your condition outside of the country. Sometimes, the cost to transfer you back home can be incredibly steep!
Pacific Prime has over two decades of experience as brokers in the insurance industry. We are committed to finding the perfect health insurance plan to suit your budget and needs. Most importantly, our highly-trained experts provide free quotations, leverage our close partnerships with all major insurers, and have an extensive portfolio that consists of all the best plans. Contact us today so we can help!