Insurance obligation for pensioners and employees abroad

Whether you’re moving abroad to enjoy retirement in the sun or for work, good insurance cover is essential outside of Switzerland as well. You need to keep this in mind.

According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO), more than 770,000 Swiss nationals live abroad. In some cases, a change of residence also affects an individual’s insurance obligation. This is especially important for pensioners and employees posted abroad.


Would you like to reside abroad after you retire? Doing so can affect your insurance obligation.

Legal basis: moving to an EU/EFTA country

If you move to an EU/EFTA country and receive a pension from Switzerland, you will continue to be subject to the Swiss health insurance obligation. 


  • If you are already drawing a pension from your future country of residence, you must obtain insurance cover in that country.
  • Individuals have the option to do so in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal and Spain. You can decide where you wish to obtain insurance cover. If you wish for an exemption from the insurance obligation in Switzerland, you must submit a request to the Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG in Olten. The three-month deadline starts on the date of your official change of residence.

Legal basis: moving to a non-EU/EFTA country

If you move to a country outside the EU and EFTA, you will no longer be subject to the Swiss insurance obligation. As a Helsana client, however, you have the option of requesting international insurance cover from Cigna Insurance.

International health insurance from Cigna Global

Insurance tips for pensioners

  • If you are insured in your new country of residence, you may in some cases only be allowed to receive treatments there. If you remain insured in Switzerland, you can decide whether you wish to be treated in your country of residence or country of origin.
  • In EU and EFTA countries, emigrants with a low income can apply for a premium reduction. Check directly with the Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG in Olten.
Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG: premium reduction for pensioners abroad

Good to know: EU and EFTA countries

The European Union (EU) comprises 27 countries. Its members include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) includes the Principality of Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. However, the “country of residence” principle applies in the Principality of Liechtenstein. Persons whose place of residence is in the Principality of Liechtenstein must therefore obtain insurance cover there.

Employees posted abroad

Do you have the opportunity to work abroad for your Swiss employer? As an employee posted abroad who pays Swiss social security taxes, you and your non-employed family members remain subject to insurance cover in Switzerland. You can continue to benefit from Swiss health insurance for at least two years up to a maximum of six years.

Further information from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) Fact sheets on "Social Insurance" from the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO)

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