For members


EXPLAINED: Should I take out Swiss health insurance before or after the birth of my baby?

In Switzerland, you can choose between taking out health insurance for your baby either before or after the birth – but there’s a catch.

EXPLAINED: Should I take out Swiss health insurance before or after the birth of my baby?
Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

In Switzerland, basic health insurance is mandatory even for the youngest among us.

Though it is generally recommended to register your baby with a health insurance prior to giving birth to save yourself the admin headache during recovery and bonding time, you can also take out health insurance after birth – though this could have financial consequences.

In any case, you should do this no later than three months after welcoming your baby.

When taking out basic health insurance after birth, your baby will be insured retrospectively from their birth. This also means that the premiums must be paid retrospectively up to the entire month of birth.

You must also inform your own health insurance of your new arrival. Note that your baby does not have to be registered with the same health insurance as you or your partner.

Are there any consequences to taking out basic health insurance for my baby after birth?

No, there are no financial consequences to taking out basic health insurance for your newborn following the birth, provided you do so within the necessary time frame.

What about supplementary health insurance?

While taking out basic health insurance will – hassle aside – play out the same way before and after the birth, this is not the case for (voluntary) supplementary health insurance.

In Switzerland, you are strongly recommended to register with a basic health insurance company during your pregnancy as this will enable you to take out supplementary health insurance for your baby at the same time. Some insurance companies, such as Concordia (100 francs), will even give you a so-called baby bonus.

Further to this, when registering your baby with a health insurance company for basic health coverage you will not be asked to provide any health check for your (unborn) baby.

However, when taking out supplementary health insurance after your child’s birth, the insurer will collect information about your baby’s health in the form of an extensive survey – similar to those adults in Switzerland have to fill out when registering with an insurance company.

This means that should your baby be born ill or with a disability, the insurance company can impose restrictions on the benefits they are to receive, or worse, refuse to sign a contract for your baby altogether.

According to a 2019 article by Swiss broadcasting company SRF, most Swiss supplementary health insurance companies will almost always reject a baby that is born with a disability as they consider them a ‘bad risk’.

You will also have to inform the insurance company of any illness or disability that has been detected during antenatal screening tests, in which case the insurer may again refuse to take your baby on.

However, note that the health insurance company is not allowed to request antenatal screening tests. Parents must only declare the results with the insurance if they have it.

In general, it is advisable to have your baby insured between the 4th and 8th month of your pregnancy.

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For members


Swiss cantons increase financial help towards health insurance premiums

If your payment for Swiss health insurance will exceed 8 percent of your income in 2024, you can have your premium reduced.

Swiss cantons increase financial help towards health insurance premiums

Health insurance rates will rise by 8.7 percent in 2024.

That’s the national average, but as each canton determines its own rates, you could end up paying much more.

For instance, Ticino residents will experience the highest increase — a hefty 10.5 percent.

Premiums in a number of other cantons will also exceed the 8.7-percent national average — for instance, Zug (10.2), Nidwalden and Thurgau (9.5), Vaud (9.9); as well as Geneva and Neuchâtel (both 9.1).

On the other hand, Zurich’s increase will be below the national average — 8.3 percent.

And  Basel-City’s residents, along with Appenzell-Innerrhoden’s, will be able to enjoy the country’s lowest increase: 6.5 percent.

The increased premiums will strain many household budgets, especially for low-income  families.

In such cases, you could be eligible for subsidies from your canton — that is, reductions in healthcare premiums.

While only a handful of cantons have so far released the amount of financial contributions they will pay toward health insurance subsidies for low-income people, all will increase the payment in 2024 to reflect the higher premiums. 

In Zurich, for instance, “1.2 billion francs will be available for premium reductions, which corresponds to an increase in the contribution of 10 percent compared to the previous year,” the canton said in a press release on Friday. 

And other cantons too “are in the process of increasing their budgets for individual premium reductions,” SRF public broadcaster reported on Friday.

In Geneva, monthly subsidies will increase by 10 to 20 francs for adults, by 15 francs for people between 18 to 25 years of age, and 10 francs for children, the canton said

For Valais, 250 million francs is earmarked for next year’s subsidies, which is 11 million more than currently. 

In coming weeks each canton will release its own updated figures.

Are you eligible?

If your premiums eat up at least the aforementioned 8 percent of your income, you qualify for financial aid.

Before deciding whether you receive the assistance, however, your canton of residence will look not only at your earnings, but at any other financial assets you hold as well as .

So if your income is low but you have plenty of money in the bank in the form of savings or other investments, you will not qualify.

Generally speaking, anyone who is a low earner or has a large number of children, could be eligible for subsidised premiums, though criteria, as well as amounts, may vary from one canton to another.

Note, however, that state subsidies apply only to the obligatory KVG / LaMal insurance, not to any supplemental polices you buy.

How do you apply for subsidies?

This process depends on the canton where you live; in all cases, however, it is based on your most current tax declaration, which allows the authorities to see not only how much you earn and how many children you have, but also your total assets.

Some cantons will notify those who are eligible automatically when you file your tax return. In others, you must apply for the reduction yourself every year.

This is a list of all the cantonal authorities responsible for subsidies.

READ ALSO: How do I apply for healthcare benefits in Switzerland?

There is no shame in asking for financial help for your health insurance, as this is quite common in Switzerland: on average, one in four people in receive a premium reduction.

In some cantons, the proportion of residents relying on insurance subsidies is higher than in others.

In Geneva, for instance, over 42 percent receive this financial help — the highest rate in Switzerland.