Taking out health insurance on my return to Switzerland
The question: I thought I would automatically have health insurance when I return to Switzerland, because health insurance is mandatory after all. No one told me I would have to take out health insurance myself. When can I actually do this?
The answer: No, you do not automatically have health insurance. But as soon as you become a Swiss resident again, you can and must take out basic insurance. This cover will normally apply retroactively from the date you register with your local municipality (i.e. as soon as you legally reside in Switzerland).
Health insurance is mandatory for everyone living in Switzerland. Health insurers are therefore also obliged to provide basic insurance to anyone who resides in Switzerland, regardless of age or state of health. Furthermore, you are free to choose your health insurer (from the list of authorised insurers). The law governs which services are covered by basic insurance.
Heath insurers cannot refuse basic insurance to Swiss who have returned to Switzerland after living abroad, nor are they permitted to impose any restrictions (e.g. due to pre-existing medical conditions). You must take out health insurance within three months of taking up residence in Switzerland. Cover will then apply retroactively from the date you started legally residing in the country.
Certain people are exempt from the obligation to take out insurance in Switzerland. These include retired persons who draw a pension from an EU country but do not receive a Swiss pension, as well as anyone who is in Switzerland for education or training purposes and has insurance equivalent to basic Swiss cover.
Health insurance is taken out individually for each family member (adults and children). All insured persons pay a premium which can vary depending on the health insurance scheme, but the basic insurance services are the same for everyone. It is worth comparing premiums. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) provides a comparison of premiums online: www.priminfo.ch.