Posted workers remain subject to the social security legislation of their country of origin. As far as health insurance is concerned, the specific requirements vary depending on the country to which the worker is posted.
Posting to an EU/EFTA country
Nationals of Switzerland or an EU/EFTA member state employed by a company whose headquarters are in Switzerland who are posted to work in an EU/EFTA country for up to 24 months remain subject to Swiss social security legislation; this also applies to health insurance. They will receive a posting certificate (A1, previously form E101) from their AHV compensation office. The duration of the posting can be extended to a maximum of six years (through a special agreement between the Federal Social Insurance Office and the relevant authority abroad).
The Swiss-EU Agreement on the free movement of persons and the EFTA Convention do not apply to third-country nationals. In most cases, postings can be arranged for them on the basis of existing bilateral agreements.
Posting to a contracting state
In the case of a posting from Switzerland to a contracting state (other than EU/EFTA countries, India and Japan), posted workers remain subject to compulsory health insurance throughout their posting (see the list of Switzerland’s international social security agreements below).
The fact that posted workers remain insured in Switzerland has no bearing on their status vis-à-vis the insurance schemes of the country where they are working. Double cover may therefore arise in some cases. If workers posted from Switzerland are required to take out health insurance in the country where they are temporarily employed, they can apply for exemption from compulsory health insurance in Switzerland, provided that continued insurance in Switzerland would result in a double burden and that they have equivalent insurance covering treatment in Switzerland.
Postings to India and Japan
Under the social security agreements with India and Japan, workers posted from Switzerland remain subject to Swiss compulsory health insurance for the duration of their posting. There is thus no risk of double cover.
Postings to non-contracting states
For posted workers not covered by the Agreement on the free movement of persons, the EFTA Convention or any other bilateral social security agreement, and for postings to countries with which Switzerland has not concluded a social security agreement (non-contracting states), Swiss compulsory health insurance will be continued for two years. On request, this period can be extended to six years.
Persons required to take out health insurance under local legislation can apply to the relevant cantonal authority for exemption from Swiss compulsory health insurance, provided that continued insurance in Switzerland would result in a double burden and that they have equivalent insurance covering treatment in Switzerland.
For an overview of all the agreements, see the document "Overview of the international social security agreements concluded by Switzerland / effects on health insurance and the liability of posted workers" (in German). Further information can be found on the website of the Federal Social Insurance Office (see the documents on social security for posted workers).
Overview of international social security agreements concluded by Switzerland (in German) (PDF, 37 kB, 16.12.2022)
Last modification 09.04.2021
Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Health and Accident Insurance Directorate
Section Legal Supervision of Health Insurance
Tel. +41 58 462 21 11