Thursday, July 03, 2014

Eight Things to Love about Switzerland, Part II

The Frau celebrated eight years in Switzerland two weeks ago. In honor of that milestone, she’s put together a list of eight things she loves about Switzerland. Today she’ll conclude with the last four. To read the first four, click here.

Baden, Switzerland
Photo by Brian Opyd
Five: Health insurance is not tied to employment. And it’s mandatory.

What happens when health insurance is tied to employment? Well, apparently if you’re in the US and work for a company like Hobby Lobby, they can deny you your legal right to contraception in their health policy because of their personal religious beliefs. Would this ever happen in Switzerland? No way. Health insurance is private; it has nothing to do with your employer, and everyone is required to have it whether they like it or not. This does a lot for costs savings and equality, since unlike in America, the people who pay for health insurance aren’t also paying for those who forgo it even though everyone has health issues. And it also means you don’t have job stress. Swiss people often quit their jobs to travel or reevaluate their lives or start a business. All while keeping their health insurance. Which brings The Frau back to point one: Freedom.

Six: Punctuality is valued.

You never have to wonder whether someone will come on time or not in Switzerland. Ten seconds late is late. Why is this great? When time is valued, you don’t tend to waste it. The Swiss are a productive country for a reason.

Seven: It’s clean. No really, it’s clean.

Switzerland is the only country The Frau knows of where she’d actually take a shower in a parking garage. Or let Toddler M continue to eat the apple she dropped on the floor of a bus. Or find a sparkling clean bathroom in the middle of nowhere. Clean is nice. And also too easy to take for granted sometimes, especially after you’ve been living here awhile.

Eight: Towns and cities are built for walkers.

Cars are required by law to stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings. Lights are timed to make driving suck as much as possible in Swiss cities. And parking costs are high. Why? Switzerland isn’t a driving country; it’s a walking one. If the laws and hiking signs aren’t proof, then the example set by The Frau is. 

The Frau walks to buy groceries. The Frau walks to buy clothes. The Frau walks to buy electronics. The Frau walks to the train. To the bus. To the library. To the post office. To the pool. There’s almost nothing she needs that is not within walking distance. Not only are all of these walkable Swiss cities and towns pleasant to live in, but when a city is walkable, it cuts down on car pollution, congestion, and noise too.

What else do you love about Switzerland?

Oh, by the way, if you love reading about Switzerland you might also like The Frau’s book, Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known. Just a totally unsubtle hint.

13 comments:

Claire said...

This makes me feel a tiny bit better as I've just been reeling at the shocking cost of health insurance here! CHF1,000 per month for nothing (unless I actually visit to the dr, which is not that usual). YIKES! I guess that's the difference of coming from the UK & Australia vs. US! I will try to be grateful... :/

Claire said...

That's CHF1K for a family of three, I should say...

Michelle said...

I love these. I especially love the first four items on your list. You've said it so well. These are all things I love about Switzerland too.

Chantal said...

Claire, your health insurance premium seems really high. We pay under CHF 500 a month for a family of three. However, we have only basic coverage, not semi-private or private. We also have the maximum deductibles, except for our child who is covered completely. I recommend the basic as "basic" is totally good enough. You can choose to pay extra for private rooms and such should you need them when entering a hospital. This way you're not paying if you don't need them! I would change your insurance the next time it is possible to do so. We've been very happy with the basic coverage.

Anonymous said...

My family of four used to pay CHF 1300 a month with Assura and had to pay doctors visits .... Very expensive, much more that in the USA... At the end of the year we were suppose to send the bills to get rein verse if we were over our deductible, well we did not visit the doctor that often, so it was painfully expensive.
I miss how clean everything is in Switzerland!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I have lived there for six years and yes, it is clean but Germany is also clean. And for sure the health insurance is mandatory BUT it is expensive! To find a doctor is sometimes also not so easy because he earns enough money, he does not need every patient.....AND WHAT REALLY SUCKS IN SWITZERLAND IS THE CHILD DAY CARE SYSTEM. I think M has not yet entered the mandatory Swiss kindergarten....but it is not easy to comment on these things because everyone has own experiences - good and bad ; )

Julie Surycz said...

Hi Chantal. Your premium of 500 seems much lower than mine. We also pay around 1000 for a family of three with Visana. Which provider do you use?

Hattie said...

I really do miss those aspects of life in Switzerland. A lot.

Chantal said...

Hey insurance people, try Sansan through Helsana. You might get a better rate.

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