health insurance for swiss living abroad

Health Insurance For Swiss Living Abroad

Is health insurance mandatory for Swiss citizens residing outside of Switzerland? Can you keep your Swiss health insurance coverage when you leave the country? Find the information you need in this guide.

Your Swiss basic obligatory health insurance or supplementary health insurance policies cover the costs incurred due to illness during short stays outside of Switzerland (up to 1 year).

But maintaining proper health insurance is also important when you live outside of Switzerland on a long-term basis. Depending on which country you reside in, having health insurance may be required by law. If you are planning a move, make sure to check into whether health insurance coverage is mandatory in your soon-to-be home.

Health insurance in the EU

If you live, work or are registered as unemployed in a European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member country, you should receive health insurance in that country. In principle, you are required to get insured in your place of employment.

Health insurance in your place of employment

The “place of employment” rule also applies to those living outside of Switzerland but working in Switzerland. In this case, you are required to get insured in Switzerland.

However, it is also possible to get health insurance from a provider in Germany, France, Italy, Austria or (to a lesser extend) Spain. If you choose to take advantage of this option, make sure to inform the relevant officials of the canton in which you work. If you do not, you will be assigned a Swiss health insurance policy by the canton.

Swiss Health Insurance For Non-Residents

Under certain circumstances, you may be allowed to keep your Swiss health insurance policy, even if you work outside of Switzerland. This typically applies to these situations:

  • Employed by a Swiss company: If you live outside of Switzerland but are employed by a Swiss company, you may keep your basic compulsory health insurance for as many as 2 or even 6 years, depending on the circumstances.
  • If you do not have a fixed residence outside of Switzerland, you can remain insured at a Swiss health insurance provider.

Health insurance premiums for Swiss living abroad

Approximately one-third of Swiss health insurance companies offer basic health insurance to Swiss living in EU or EFTA countries. Special premiums apply for Swiss residing in EU or EFTA member states. You can get an overview of these premiums on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Health insurance for pensioners living abroad

For Swiss pensioners residing outside of Switzerland, the rules differ depending on which country they live in.
For pensioners residing in EU or EFTA member countries: If you receive your entire pension from Switzerland, you are required to keep your Swiss health insurance coverage. If you receive even part of your pension from the country you reside in, you will have to take out health insurance in your country of residence - as per bilateral agreements between Switzerland, the EU and the EFTA.

If you live in Germany, France, Italy, Austria or Spain, you can choose to get health insurance in your country of residence regardless of whether you receive your pension from Switzerland or from the country in which you live.

Health insurance for Swiss moving outside of the EU

If you move to a country outside of the EU or EFTA, you normally will not be able to keep your (compulsory) Swiss health insurance. However, some Swiss insurers offer private health insurance solutions to those living abroad. Check with your insurance provider as to whether or not they provide special insurance coverage for your situation. Alternatively, you could also opt for an international health insurance provider.

International health insurance for Swiss living abroad

Depending on your situation, you may be able to maintain your supplementary health insurance policies for a certain time period after you move abroad.

Some Swiss health insurance providers also offer the equivalent of basic Swiss health insurance as a supplementary policy. This non-resident insurance coverage (a form of  “international health insurance”) provides similar insurance coverage to what you get with a compulsory Swiss health insurance policy, but through a fully-private health insurance policy.

Get as many quotes as possible before settling on an insurance policy. International health insurance is offered by these insurance companies, among others: Direct Health, Golden Care, International Health Plan, International Health Insurance IHI (collaborates with Sanitas), KPT International, Swica, Swisscare, Swiss Insurance Partners, SHI Swiss Health International, Soliswiss (insurance broker), Visana, WinHealth Group.

If you have any questions about policies, premiums or other aspects of insurance, make sure to get the facts from the insurance provider before you sign up.

The team

More on this topic:
Personal finance for digital nomads
International health insurance explained
Basic health insurance in Switzerland

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