Pregnancy and childbirth in Switzerland
Pregnancy and childbirth in Switzerland – practice versus theory
Probably every young mother coming to Switzerland, confronted with the local reality and the prevailing customs, systems and laws, wonders how it is with pregnancy in Switzerland.
What does the insurance cover?
Basically, the basic insurance covers all the necessary maternity benefits – so, unlike when you are ill, you do not incur any additional costs (Franchise and Selbsbehalt) for examinations that are immediate and advisable during pregnancy. In accordance with the Health Insurance Act (KVG), these benefits cover medical checkups during pregnancy, childbirth and the mother’s subsequent recovery.
Good to know: from the thirteenth week of pregnancy until eight weeks after the birth of the child, women do not have to pay any costs (Franchise and Selbstbehalt), even for examinations and treatments that are not dependent on pregnancy, i.e. general health problems. The exceptions are preventive measures, accidents and dental costs.
Is it worth having supplementary insurance during pregnancy?
Depending on the needs of the mother-to-be, additional maternity insurance may make sense. Basic insurance covers all necessary maternity benefits. Those who want additional services or comfort are well covered with additional insurance. Such insurance covers, among other things, the free choice of a doctor during childbirth, additional examinations and ultrasounds during pregnancy, coverage of part of the costs of additional gymnastic classes or provision of care in private hospitals.
Please note: With supplementary insurance, a grace period applies in many cases, usually 9 or 12 months. It is therefore advisable to take out additional hospital and outpatient insurance in advance. If the pregnancy falls within the grace period, the supplementary insurance does not pay additional maternity benefits.
What about health insurance for women and children who only come to Switzerland after the birth?
If the mother is entitled to maternity leave (later also parental leave) in Poland, and she comes to visit her dad and stays in Switzerland, she can apply for an exemption from paying the basic KVG insurance. In this case you have to choose form S1 from the Polish NFZ and with this you have to report to the Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG. You will be given a form to fill in. After sending back the form together with the S1, the KVG passes on the decision and sends you an insurance card, which looks just like any other health insurance card. In practice, it is a free choice of doctor in Switzerland and Franchise 300.
Social insurance services after childbirth:
Active women, are entitled to only 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
Depending on the canton, you receive a family allowance for the child generally in the amount of about CHF 200-250. Some cantons (mostly French-speaking) grant this allowance at a higher sum.
From 1 January 2021, fathers are entitled to two weeks of paid leave (14 days’ pay).
The paternity allowance is 80% of your salary, with a maximum of 196 francs per day. Cantonal regulations, staff regulations and collective agreements may provide for more favourable arrangements.
Unlike maternity leave, paternity leave is flexible: you can take it in full or in single days, but within six months of the birth.