Pensioners are subject to health insurance of the state from which they receive their pension. In Switzerland, pensions are considered to be (statutory) benefits of the old age and survivors' insurance (AHV), disability insurance (IV), military insurance (MV), accident insurance (UV) and occupational benefits (BV, pension fund). In the area of occupational benefits, this also applies if benefits were drawn in capitalized form and the regular retirement age stipulated in the regulations is reached. Benefits drawn from a private provision, for example from a life insurance, do not qualify as pensions.
- Insurance obligation in Switzerland
- Form E 121 or certificate S1
- Will the entitlement to medical treatment in Switzerland remain valid?
- Is there a possibility of obtaining health insurance in the country of residence?
- What must be taken into account for exemption from compulsory health insurance?
Insurance obligation in Switzerland
- you receive a pension from Switzerland (AHV, IV, UV, BV) and you are transferring your residence to a state within the EU/EFTA
- you do not receive a pension from your new state of residence
- you have either been paying contributions exclusively into the Swiss pension insurance or you have been paying longer into the Swiss pension insurance than into another EU/EFTA-State’s pension insurance (there must be longer insurance periods in Switzerland).
Due to the withdrawal of a Swiss pension, you and your inactive family members remain subject to compulsory health insurance in Switzerland.
Form E 121 or certificate S1
How to claim insurance benefits in your country of residence?
Your Swiss health insurance will issue a certificate S1 or form E 121. This document needs to be submitted to the competent statutory health insurance institution of your new state of residence (assisting institution) for registration.
Once your registration is complete, you will be entitled to all medical benefits stipulated in your state of residence. You will have the same entitlement to benefits as a person insured in that country. The participation in costs is based on the regulations of the state of residence.
The Common Institution under the Federal Health Insurance Act is not authorised to issue the certificate S1 or the form E 121.
Will the entitlement to medical treatment in Switzerland remain valid?
When you are insured in Switzerland, you have the right to choose where to receive your treatment from. This means that you can choose whether you want to receive medical treatment in your state of residence or in Switzerland.
However, medical treatments during a temporary stay in an EU/EFTA state other than your state of residence are only covered when the treatments are considered medically necessary.
Please use your European Health Insurance Card if this happens to be the case.
If you travel, with the intention of receiving medical treatment, to an EU/EFTA state other than your state of residence the incurring costs must be covered at your own expense.
Is there a possibility of obtaining health insurance in the country of residence?
If you live in Germany, France, Italy, Austria or Spain, you and your non-employed family members have the option of being exempted from compulsory health insurance in Switzerland if you join the health insurance system of your country of residence (so-called insurance option right).
If you live in Portugal, only you, as a pensioner, can make use of the insurance option right. Your non-active family members are subject to the health insurance system in Portugal.
If you live in Finland, only your non-active family members have the insurance option right. You, as a pensioner, are subject to compulsory health insurance in Switzerland.
If you live in Denmark or Sweden, you, as a pensioner, are subject to compulsory health insurance in Switzerland. You cannot be exempted from the obligation to be insured in Switzerland. Your non-active family members, on the other hand, cannot be insured in Switzerland and are subject to the health insurance system in their state of residence.
If you live in Liechtenstein, you and your non-active family members are subject to the health insurance system in Liechtenstein. There is no possibility to be insured in Switzerland.
What must be taken into account for exemption from compulsory health insurance?
The request for exemption from the compulsory insurance in Switzerland must be submitted in writing within three months of taking up residence in the EU/EFTA state. The Common Institution under the Federal Health Insurance Act verifies and grants the exemption. The insurance option right is irrevocable and may only be exercised once.
You can find the form to apply for an exemption as PDF document on the right-hand side of this page. Please change the language into German, French or Italian.
Special agreement with Spain
Persons who receive a Swiss pension without being entitled to a Spanish pension are subject to compulsory health insurance in Switzerland along with their non-active family members.
The so-called "convenio especial" is an agreement between Switzerland and Spain (social security agreement). It is only applicable to nationals of these two countries and gives pensioners the possibility of being exempted from the compulsory health insurance in Switzerland. You can find the information sheet on the right hand side of this page under downloads for pensioners. Please change the language into German, French or Italian.