Understanding EHIC use in Switzerland
Anyone who has visited Switzerland will tell you that there is a lot more to this beautiful country than fine chocolate and cuckoo clocks. In fact, there are few countries on the continent that can boast such stunning scenery for a territory of its size. Situated in the heart of the Alps, Switzerland’s mountain terrain is famous throughout the world and has many of the most visited ski resorts in Europe. In saying that, Switzerland is not just a place that is geared for winter holidaymakers. The chic and elegant cities of Geneva and Zurich make it an attractive destination for city breaks too, but don’t forget to take plenty of money as its prices may surprise you!
Healthcare in Switzerland
Whatever your reason for visiting this idyllic country and whatever time of year you head there, it’s important to take the necessary precautions beforehand in the unlikely event that you require healthcare in Switzerland during your stay. Packing is not just about ensuring that you have the right clothes for hitting the slopes; it’s about ensuring you have the right documentation. This includes the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as only using an EHIC in Switzerland will give you access to state-provided healthcare.
Using an EHIC in Switzerland
Healthcare in Switzerland is based on a combination of public, subsidised private and fully private systems. If you’re an EEA national, using an EHIC in Switzerland entitles you to receive public healthcare at a reduced cost and will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers the cost of treatment for pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.
In the event of an emergency requiring an ambulance, the service will only transport the patient so if you’re travelling with a companion who has suffered illness or injury you’ll have to make your own way to the hospital. Healthcare in Switzerland funds 50 per cent of the costs for medically required transport, and a maximum of 5,000 Swiss Francs per calendar year in the case of rescue. Even when using an EHIC in Switzerland, you will need to pay some of the ambulance costs yourself so it’s better to make other transport arrangements unless the patient’s condition dictates otherwise. It’s important to remember that using an EHIC in Switzerland does not entitle you to private treatment, so you should ensure that you are treated by a state-funded healthcare provider. Healthcare in Switzerland is offered in both forms by some providers so you should be particularly careful if arrangements are made on your or your companion’s behalf by a hotel or travel representative as costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.
Who can help with my EHIC application?
In order to understand the full entitlements and exemptions for receiving healthcare in Switzerland, a little bit of preparation before you travel will go a long way. Each country’s health system is different, so assuming that using an EHIC in Switzerland will include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS is risky and could leave you out of pocket.
That being said, the EHIC will keep medical costs incurred from receiving healthcare in Switzerland to an absolute minimum so it’s vital that you apply for one or renew an expired card before you travel. The card itself is freely available from the NHS, but at Europe EHIC Services Ltd we appreciate how laborious the application process can be. This is why we offer a range of services that are designed to ensure that your EHIC application is complete, accurate and processed as quickly as possible, so that you don’t need to worry about your eligibility for healthcare in Switzerland.
For more information on accessing healthcare in Switzerland or to enquire about our EHIC application services, visit our website.