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27 September 2023 Medical treatment in Switzerland - Is this also possible for EU/EFTA nationals?

What happens if you are travelling in Switzerland and suddenly need to go to hospital? Or would you like to have a medical treatment carried out by a specialist in Switzerland? If you are wondering under what conditions this is possible, then your country of origin is decisive. In this article you will find out what you need to bear in mind as an EU/EFTA national.

Immigration law requirements

For EU and EFTA nationals, medical treatment in Switzerland is possible in two cases:

a) Emergency treatment

Persons from EU and EFTA member states who are already in Switzerland are entitled to medically necessary treatment during their stay that cannot be postponed until their planned return to their home country.

The only prerequisite is that they belong to a statutory health insurance scheme in an EU or EFTA state.

b) Planned medical treatment

In principle, EU and EFTA nationals can stay in Switzerland for up to three months without a residence permit on the basis of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. All that is required is a form from the foreign insurer.

A residence permit is required for a stay of more than three months, but there is a legal right to have one issued. The prerequisite for this is that the persons concerned have sufficient financial means and have taken out health and accident insurance covering all risks.

In cases of serious personal hardship, a residence permit may exceptionally be granted even if these admission requirements are not met. A case of hardship exists, for example, if there are insufficient financial means and a serious illness can only be treated in Switzerland. In this case, however, there is no legal entitlement to the granting of a residence permit.

The residence permit is issued by the competent cantonal authority. The exact formalities for issuing the permit therefore differ from canton to canton.

Insurance law consequences

a) Emergency treatment

If EU and EFTA nationals can produce a European Insurance Card, they also enjoy full insurance cover in Switzerland.

b) Planned medical treatment

EU and EFTA nationals who wish to enter Switzerland solely for medical treatment cannot take out insurance with a Swiss health insurance fund. The costs of elective surgery are also not covered by the European Health Insurance Card.

For a planned medical treatment, the person concerned must apply for cost coverage from their health insurance company. Only if this is granted can the medical treatment be carried out in Switzerland. If the stay in Switzerland is less than three months, only a form from the foreign insurer confirming the assumption of costs must be submitted (certificate S2). If EU/EFTA nationals wish to come to Switzerland for medical treatment for longer than three months, they must take out health and accident insurance that covers all risks.

If you have any further questions about receiving medical treatment in Switzerland for EU/EFTA nationals, the Immigration Team will be happy to help.

Authors: Urs Hägi, Antonia Straden, Selina Bäbler