Emigrating: what happens regarding your health insurance?

You want to enjoy your retirement in a warm country? Or you’ve had an exciting offer to work abroad? For pensioners or those posted abroad – this is the most important information on insurance coverage for when you emigrate.

There are many good reasons to move abroad permanently. Whether you move away

  • for your retirement as a pensioner, or
  • to work as an employee posted abroad,

certain conditions apply when choosing your health insurance:

Emigrating as a pensioner

Which insurance obligation applies?

Are you planning to retire near the palm trees? If so, as a pensioner, the legal requirements relating to your health insurance change:

If you are a pensioner and move to an EU/EFTA country

  • If you receive a pension exclusively from Switzerland, you will continue to be subject to the Swiss health insurance obligation. This means you must continue to have compulsory basic insurance in Switzerland.
  • If you get your pension in the new country you live in, you must take out health insurance in that country.

Not sure how you will be paid your pension? The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has all the information you need on pension payment.

SSN: Retirement abroad
Exception: moving to Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal or Spain

In the countries named above, you have a choice. If you plan to live in one of these countries and draw your pension exclusively from Switzerland, you can decide yourself where you want to be insured – either in Switzerland or in your new country of residence.

If you are a pensioner and move to a country outside the EU

If you move to a country outside the EU and EFTA, you will no longer be subject to the Swiss insurance obligation.

International health insurance for anyone emigrating

If your compulsory basic health insurance ceases, you automatically lose your entitlement to some benefits. But even after you leave, you should be able to enjoy adequate medical care – without any disastrous financial consequences.

That is why you should take out an international health insurance policy. This way, you can continue to make use of numerous benefits and the best insurance cover worldwide. As a Helsana customer, you have the option of requesting international insurance cover from Cigna Insurance.

What else do you need to know before emigrating?

Having the best insurance is essential for retiring abroad with peace of mind. So take note of the following before you leave:

Your health insurance will decide where you can get treatment

If you take out insurance in your new country of residence, you may in some cases only be allowed to receive treatment there. If you remain insured in Switzerland, you can decide whether you wish to get medical treatment in your new place of residence or in Switzerland.

Find out about a premium reduction

In EU and EFTA countries, emigrants with a low income can apply for a premium reduction. You can find all the information on this from the Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG in Olten.

Information on premium reduction – KVG Apply for premium reduction at KVG

How to be exempted from the Swiss insurance obligation

Don’t forget: if you don’t keep your health insurance in Switzerland, you need to officially apply for exemption from the Swiss insurance obligation. This form allows you to do this:

Form for exemption from the Swiss insurance obligation

More information and documents on health insurance for pensioners abroad is available here:

BAG (Federal Office of Public Health): Health insurance for pensioners abroad

Emigrating as an employee

Are you working abroad for a Swiss employer? If so, you are what is known as an employee posted abroad. The following applies regarding your insurance obligation: 

As an employee posted abroad, you retain your insurance in Switzerland

The following applies, as a rule: as an employee posted abroad who pays Swiss social security taxes, you and your non-employed family members remain subject to compulsory insurance cover in Switzerland. This means you can continue to have Swiss health insurance for at least two years, up to a maximum of six years.

Special Insurance Conditions for employees posted abroad

Depending which country you, as a Swiss citizen, live and work in, different legal and contractual stipulations can apply. Find out the details relevant to the country before you leave:

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