Pregnant in Switzerland: what to expect from your health insurance?
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Pregnant in Switzerland: what to expect from your health insurance?

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Are you expecting a child? Congratulations! The anticipation, the plan-making, and the sheer joy of bringing new life into the world are hard to put into words. Your pregnancy will be amazing! But if you're new in Switzerland and pregnant with your first child, you may feel overwhelmed and insecure and you will most certainly have a lot of questions related to what happens next, who covers what costs and when.

This article explains what you can expect from your health insurance and what are the steps to take to make sure you get the best possible care. So - how will your Swiss health insurance help you make this time more peaceful and enjoyable? Let’s find out!

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Pregnancy and health insurance in Switzerland: the basics

The biggest piece of advice we can offer is this one: don’t wait too long before starting the pregnancy-related formalities with your insurer and your doctor. If you’re not yet pregnant, but plan on growing your family soon, this is the perfect time to re-evaluate your health insurance policy and see if you need to change insurance providers or your coverage plan.

Here’s what you should do as soon as you find out you’re pregnant: 

  • Choose an OBGYN and schedule a first consultation. Your OBGYN will usually inform your insurer, which will send a letter of acceptance for your maternity costs. 

  • From this point on, you can relax, all maternity costs, ultrasounds, blood tests and medical interventions are fully covered by your insurer, as long as they are prescribed by your OBGYN.

There’s a time limit however: treatment and care costs before the 13th week of pregnancy are not liable to any out-of-pocket costs (so you have to pay your normal franchise and / or “selbstbehalt”).

Re-read your insurance policy closely, especially the chapter related to pregnancy. Are there any clauses that you don’t understand? Call your insurer and ask for clarifications.

Pregnant in Switzerland: how do I choose my OBGYN?

This is one of the most important choices you will make. While it may seem daunting at first, especially if you’re a new expat in Switzerland and you don’t know where to begin, your insurer and your community can help you figure things out. Start by asking friends and acquaintances or work colleagues who have recently had a child if they can refer you to their doctor. Get into as many details as possible (without being too intrusive!) about the care they received. If there are certain aspects about pregnancy care or giving birth that are important to you, ask about them specifically. You can also set up a few appointments with several doctors to get to know them and see which of them is a better fit for your needs. Be careful, though! You will have to pay for those appointments out of pocket.

It is also important to note that if you choose to have a natural birth, your doctor will only be present if there are complications so you will go through the birth with the hospital midwife (Hebamme/ sage-femme). Read more on giving birth in Switzerland

What does compulsory insurance cover when it comes to pregnancy and giving birth in Switzerland?

This is one of the most frequent questions related to pregnancy in Switzerland. First things first: relax! Switzerland is a great place to have your child in and all of the basic maternity needs are typically covered by your insurance. Here are some of the things that you don’t have to worry about during your pregnancy (you’ll find that this list is quite comprehensive):

  • Home birth, hospital births or giving birth in a birthing centre. The place of birth must be included in the Hospital List of your canton of residence. This list differs by canton. Services provided by a physician or midwife are covered, but not by other practitioners.

  • Up to seven check-ups are included for reimbursement. This includes required laboratory tests. One postpartum check-up is included until eight weeks after delivery. Two ultrasounds are included in your compulsory insurance. If there is need for more medical interventions and these are prescribed by the doctor, this is also covered by basic insurance.

  • Amniocentesis is not always covered, but rather depends on the discretion of the physician.

Newborns and health insurance in Switzerland

What happens after your child is born in Switzerland? Will you be left to fend for yourself? Not at all! Most insurance plans include excellent postpartum care:

  • Three breastfeeding consultations are usually included, if conducted by a nurse of midwife.

  • It is the mother's health insurance that covers the hospital stay of both mother and baby. However, if the baby is born with any medical issues then the treatment costs are covered by the newborn baby's health insurance. Therefore, you'd be well advised to get  a health insurance policy for your baby, before giving birth. You can, however, insure your baby up to three month after the birth with basic insurance.  

  • If you don't want to share a room with other mothers and their newborns, you should consider a supplementary insurance that allows you to have semi-private or private rooms. 

Can the child have a different insurer than me?

Yes, your child can have a different health insurance than you. Most new mothers in Switzerland opt for the same insurer for their children because you usually get discounts if the whole family is insured with the same company. Plus, the paperwork may be easier for you if you’re already accustomed to an insurer’s style. However, you can also opt for a different insurer for your child. This is typically advantageous if your child is born with a medical condition that is covered only by some insurers. If that is the case, we advise you to discuss to as many insurance companies as possible to find the right fit. 

In conclusion 

Don't worry! As a pregnant expat in Switzerland, you will receive the best possible care during your pregnancy and after giving birth.

Want to make sure your insurer covers all your needs during pregnancy?

Talk to an English-speaking consultant and find the answers to all your questions.

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More on this topic?

Since we're talking about insurance, you might be interested in these articles as well: 

Been living in Switzerland for some time? Here are some tips on health insurance

Giving birth in a Swiss hospital - what it's like

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