Health insurance: Workers on short-term assignments in Switzerland

In principle, anyone domiciled abroad who works in Switzerland for a short period of time must take out Swiss health insurance. Some exceptions may apply depending on the employee’s country of domicile and nationality or the type of Swiss work permit he or she holds.

EU/EFTA workers – insurance policy at place of work

Following the harmonisation of social-security systems introduced in 2002 by the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) and the EAA Agreement, the obligation to take out health insurance is based on the place of employment. Anyone working in Switzerland is required to take out compulsory Swiss health insurance, as are all members of their family not in gainful employment.
This rule applies to all workers from an EU or EFTA state who:

  • hold a short-term work permit (permit L)
  • are engaged in gainful employment in Switzerland for a maximum of three months but do not require a residence permit during this period (their stay being authorised by the notification procedure), unless they have an equivalent policy covering healthcare in Switzerland.

Exceptions can apply for workers domiciled in Germany, Austria, France and Italy who regularly return to their country of domicile (at least once a week). See note on option right in “Cross-border commuters in Switzerland”.

Beginning and end of cover

EU/EFTA nationals not requiring a residence permit (because they are working for less than 3 months) are required to take out Swiss health insurance from the date their employment contract commences. If they fail do so, they may automatically be enrolled with a health insurance fund, with a policy commencing on the date their employment began.
Insurance cover generally ends on the day the worker’s employment ends, and in any event no later than the date of his or her departure from Switzerland or death.

EU/EFTA nationals holding an L permit lasting more than 3 months are required to take out Swiss health insurance from the day they report to the Residents’ Registration Office. They must do so within a time limit of 3 months. If they fail to do so, they may be automatically enrolled with a health insurance fund – with a premium surcharge for belated admission in the absence of an excuse for the delay – and are required to pay the costs of any medical treatment received prior to the date of admission themselves.
Insurance cover generally ends on the worker’s departure date reported to the Residents’ Registration Office, and in any event no later than his or her effective date of departure from Switzerland or death.  

Workers from other countries (outside the EU/EFTA)

Third-country nationals (from outside the EU/EFTA) with a short-term work permit or a residence permit valid for at least three months are required to take out compulsory Swiss health insurance.

This requirement also applies to foreign workers whose residence permit lasts less than three months (such as seasonal workers) unless they are covered by an equivalent policy which will pay for treatment in Switzerland.

Beginning and end of cover

Holders of an L permit lasting more than 3 months are required to take out Swiss health insurance from the day they report to the Residents’ Registration Office. They must do so within three months. If they fail to do so, they may be automatically enrolled with a health insurance fund – with a premium surcharge for belated admission in the absence of an excuse for the delay – and are required to pay the costs of any medical treatment received prior to the date of admission themselves.

Holders of an L permit lasting less than 3 months are required to take out Swiss health insurance from the date they enter Switzerland. If they fail do so, they may automatically be enrolled with a health insurance fund.

Insurance cover generally ends on the departure date reported to the Residents’ Registration Office, and in any event no later than the date of the worker’s departure from Switzerland or death.

Workers employed in more than one country

Swiss or EU nationals working simultaneously either in several EU/EFTA states or in Switzerland and one or more EU/EFTA states, be it as salaried employees or as independent contractors, are subject to the legislation of one single state. For more information on this, see “Travailleurs dans l’UE ou l’AELE - Activités salariées simultanées dans l’UE/AELE ou la Suisse”

In Switzerland, authority to decide on social-security coverage rests with the Old-age and Survivors’ Insurance Compensation Offices. They also decide on health-insurance coverage requirements. If you are simultaneously engaged in gainful employment in both Switzerland and the EU/EFTA, we request that contact your OASI compensation office directly.

Further information

Cross-border commuters working in Switzerland

In principle, cross-border commuters must take out Swiss health insurance. Some exceptions may apply depending on the employee’s country of domicile and nationality.

Workers in the EU or EFTA

Health insurance obligations for persons who are resident in Switzerland and work in an EU/EFTA country or pursue multiple activities.

EU/EFTA premiums and premium reductions

Persons insured in Switzerland pay the EU/EFTA premiums applicable to their country of domicile. Those of limited means are entitled to a premium reduction.

Last modification 17.08.2018

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Contact

Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Health and Accident Insurance Directorate
Section Legal Supervision of Health Insurance
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Berne
Switzerland
Tel. +41 58 462 21 11
E-mail

Print contact

https://www.bag.admin.ch/content/bag/en/home/versicherungen/krankenversicherung/krankenversicherung-versicherte-mit-wohnsitz-im-ausland/versicherungspflicht/kurzarbeitende-ch.html