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OSA advice

17.08.2015 – legal department of the osa

I am planning to return to Switzerland after residing abroad for several years. What do I need to take account of with regard to health insurance?

Health insurance is mandatory for everyone living in Switzerland. The health insurance schemes are therefore also obliged to offer basic insurance to all persons residing in Switzerland regardless of their age and state of health. The law governs which services are covered by basic insurance. Health insurance schemes cannot therefore refuse Swiss Abroad returning to Switzerland basic insurance cover, nor are they permitted to impose any restrictions (e.g. due to existing illnesses). The health insurance policy must be concluded within three months of taking up residency in Switzerland. It is taken out with retrospective effect to the date when residency began. Certain people are exempt from the obligation to take out insurance in Switzerland. These include pensioners who draw a pension from an EU country but not a Swiss pension as well as those residing in Switzerland for educational reasons and who have the same insurance cover as that provided by basic Swiss insurance.

Health insurance is taken out individually for each family member (adults and children). All insured persons pay a premium which can vary depending upon the health insurance scheme, but the basic insurance services are the same for everyone. It is therefore worth comparing premiums. Savings on premiums can also be made on various insurance models. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) provides a comparison of premiums online:

Anyone requiring insurance cover that goes beyond the basic insurance services (e.g. inclusion of alternative medicine, private or semi-private room during a stay in hospital, etc.) can take out supplementary insurance. However, these are private insurance policies, which means that the health insurance schemes can refuse to insure particular persons or apply restrictions excluding certain services.

Further information can be found on the FOPH’s website:

OSA’s Legal Department provides general legal information on Swiss law, in particular in the areas that concern the Swiss Abroad. It does not provide information on foreign law and does not intervene in disputes between private parties.