Information on health insurance within EU/EFTA States

In which country should I be insured?

The rules relating to social insurance between the EU/EFTA Member States and Switzerland are governed by the agreement on the freedom of movement of persons concluded between Switzerland and these states. These agreements established coordination of the social insurance systems of these different countries, the main aim being to permit determination of the state responsible in each instance and the coordination procedures.


Within the health insurance framework, the agreement stipulates that the appropriate state is generally the country in which a person is working. A Swiss citizen for example established in France and working in France will therefore be governed by the French health insurance regime.


Specific rules exist for different categories of persons:


Frontier workers

Frontier workers and members of their families who are not in active employment must take out insurance in the country in which the frontier worker pursues a gainful activity. However, in some countries frontier workers and the members of their families who are not in active employment may choose the state in which they wish to have insurance. -> Table



Pensioners benefiting from AVS/AI, accident insurance and occupational benefit pensions must in principle be insured in Switzerland if they do not receive a pension from their country of residence.


If the pensioner receives a pension from his country of residence, he must be insured in that country against illness even if the pension which he draws in the country of residence is less than the Swiss pension.


If the pensioner is domiciled in a country  from which he does not receive a pension but receives a Swiss pension and a pension from another EU/EFTA state, he must take out insurance in the country in which he has held insurance for the longest period for retirement pension purposes.


Here too there are some exceptions from the general principle depending on the country.

For instance pensioners living in Germany, France, Italy, Austria or Spain and their non-employed family members affiliated to the health insurance system of their country of residence can be exempted from the insurance obligation in Switzerland (insurance right of option, check Link “overview list of health insurances in the EU”).


The insured person can make use of his/her option right (choosing between the Swiss health insurance system and the domicile state’s system) within a deadline of 3 months after receiving the first pension payment or upon taking residency in a EU/EFTA member state.


On its website, the European Commission offers an overview of the various social security systems in the EU/EFTA, which can be consulted as a help in the decision:


In Switzerland, the Common Institution under the Fed. Health Insurance Act (Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG) scheme is responsible for verifying the affiliation of Swiss pensioners to a Swiss health insurance scheme.


Persons drawing unemployment benefit in Switzerland

These persons have health insurance in Switzerland. As in the previous cases, there may be an opportunity to choose the appropriate state depending on the country of residence. -> table.


Persons who are insured in Switzerland will pay premiums calculated as a function of the country in which they reside. Premium reductions are possible on certain conditions. For further details, please consult the Internet sites indicated in the links.


Where should I obtain healthcare?

As a general rule, persons insured in a EU member state obtain healthcare in their country of residence.


Persons, who are health insured in Switzerland or in a different EU state than their own country of residence, are entitled to obtain healthcare in their country of residence as though they were affiliated to the local social insurance.


Persons, health insured in Switzerland, living in a EU-country (cross-border workers and their family members, pensioners and their family members, persons drawing unemployment benefit in Switzerland and their family members as well as family members of temporary residents in Switzerland), have the possibility to choose between healthcare treatment in their country of residence or in Switzerland.  For health care treatment in Switzerland, these policyholders must contribute to the cost of the benefits in the same way as policyholders living in Switzerland.


Special case temporary stay/visit: location of healthcare treatment

All persons, health insured in a EU state or in Switzerland, when falling ill or being pregnant during a visit in another EU state or in Switzerland are entitled to receive immediate necessary medical treatment, when presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Certificate provisionally replacing the EHIC.