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Old 12.05.2011, 15:51
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Ehic

I've seen and read - at length - multiple threads on this topic and related matters regarding acceptance of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) here in Zurich and across Switzerland.

I thought I'd start a new topic documenting my experience, based on a fairly typical IT contractor situation.

I am here in Switzerland on a 6 month contract with a large local bank but am employed by a Swiss company and pay normal Swiss tax, etc. My employer also provides accident insurance as part of the package and gave me a quote from their preferred health insurance company, which I declined.

I arrived on 4th April and registered at the local Kreisburo on 9th April. Within a few days my Auslanderausweis arrived and a few weeks later, I received a letter from the Gemeinde asking me to provide details of my health care provider.

I had already applied for the EHIC using the NHS website and a friend brought this over for me last weekend on a visit. I still own a house in the UK and intend to return home after my 6 months are up; I will continue to pay NI contributions in the UK.

The NHS letter states clearly that they provide "access to treatment under the same terms as people who live in the country you are visiting." Switzerland is also specifically noted, along with the "European Economic Area" as a whole.

Today, I have sent a photocopy of the EHIC and the letter that accompanied it, along with their form, duly signed, to the Gemeinde.

I will let you know their response and decision.
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Old 26.05.2011, 19:16
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Re: EHIC

Today, I received a letter from the Gesundheitsdienste for Stadt Zürich which I believe says that I'm OK to not have Swiss insurance. It's written in those long words that Google Translate has trouble deciphering.

I'll take this into work tomorrow and ask a friendly native for a translaton to be on the safe side.
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Old 07.06.2011, 12:22
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Re: EHIC

I got the translation which means they want more information and will be in contact again.

Sure enough, a couple of days later I received a form (in English) for completion. Sadly, left it at home today but will enter the salient information on this post, this evening, as well as completing and returning it.
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  #4  
Old 07.06.2011, 12:41
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Re: Ehic

You are not visiting you are working, and there is a difference in Swiss law.

Choose a Swiss health insurance company and buy a policy soon, or the authorities will choose one for you and give you the invoice.
http://en.comparis.ch/krankenkassen/default.aspx

The company group policy you refused is almost certainly cheaper!

This topic has been thrashed to death. Search here for more info.
Health Insurance - Look here before asking questions please.
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Old 07.06.2011, 13:13
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Re: Ehic

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You are not visiting you are working, and there is a difference in Swiss law.

Choose a Swiss health insurance company and buy a policy soon, or the authorities will choose one for you and give you the invoice.
http://en.comparis.ch/krankenkassen/default.aspx

The company group policy you refused is almost certainly cheaper!

This topic has been thrashed to death. Search here for more info.
Health Insurance - Look here before asking questions please.
Too true! Basic cover is MANDATORY (If you are living here for over 90 days that is) and in fact I'm surprised your permit is proceeding without the proof of cover.

When the Gemeinde inform you that you do indeed need it I can sort this out for you with English contracts no problems. It sounds like you only need a very basic cheap cover with high deductible unless you are sick a lot.
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Old 20.06.2011, 13:46
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Re: Ehic

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You are not visiting you are working, and there is a difference in Swiss law.

Choose a Swiss health insurance company and buy a policy soon, or the authorities will choose one for you and give you the invoice.
http://en.comparis.ch/krankenkassen/default.aspx

The company group policy you refused is almost certainly cheaper!

This topic has been thrashed to death. Search here for more info.
Health Insurance - Look here before asking questions please.
Thanks for the helpful hints but I have read all of those posts and also researched the topic thorougly. I also do not have a company group policy available - that was simply a "special offer" which wasn't all that special.

This thread was meant to document my experience as it will be similar to others. The previous posts did not, for example, mention the specific timelines and paperwork to prove exemption.

I am currently paying National Insurance contributions in the UK and therefore I do qualify to be exempted from the Swiss alternative - I have a 12 month contract from a UK-based (Isle of Man) employer to which I intend to return. I may be working in CH but I am also simply a visitor - I have no intention to remain in this country after my 6 months are up. And I don't have the luxury of money floating around to pay out for unexpected and unnecessary health insurance.

So if we're spouting opinions, I simply do not understand the mentality of paying through the nose for something which does not apply to you! For a nation of rule-followers, this carefree atittude to money is laughable. It's anti-consumerism in the extreme!

To continue my tale, then...

I received a form (in English) with an explanatory letter in German (but with an English translation on the reverse).

This essentially lays out the choices under which you wish to try to qualify, which I shall paraphrase:

1. Residency in Switzerland but not employed/self employed.
2. Gainfully employed in Switzerland AND another EC/EFTA country.
3. Retired people, gaining a pension from a foreign country.
4. Otherwise exempted from Swiss Old Age Pension, Susriviors and Invalidity Insurance Scheme (AHV/IV).
5. Temporary deployment to Switzerland by a foreign company.
6. Swiss resident studying abroad.
7. Gainfully employed in Switzerland, present during the week only, with a life based abroad (permit L or G).
8. Pre-university, post-secondary or intern pursuing further education in Switzerland.
9. Lecturer at a post-secondary educational institution.
10. Holder of a 90-day or 120-day permit (copy required)
11. Privately insured abroad and, due to age (over 55) and/or state of health, cannot continue to be insured in Switzerland to the same extent as previously.
12. A non-EC/EFTA citizen and legally insured
13. unemployed in Switzerland and receiving unemployment benefit from another country.

There is also a section regarding spouse, registered partner and/or children abroad.

I qualify under section 2 and am returning the form today (within the 30 day limit), together with my UK contract to:

Gesundheitsdirektion
Bereich KVG
Obstgartenstrasse 21
Postfach
CH 8090 Zurich
Tel: +41 43 259 2438
Fax: +41 43 259 5210
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Old 20.06.2011, 21:40
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Re: Ehic

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Too true! Basic cover is MANDATORY (If you are living here for over 90 days that is) and in fact I'm surprised your permit is proceeding without the proof of cover.

When the Gemeinde inform you that you do indeed need it I can sort this out for you with English contracts no problems. It sounds like you only need a very basic cheap cover with high deductible unless you are sick a lot.
Yes, it is MANDATORY to have health insurance, but there ARE other alternatives to buying one of the usual basic insurance policies from a Swiss health insurance. I know lots of people personally who work here and have a UK policy that qualifies or counts the same as if they had Swiss basic insurance. The authority (this is in Zurich) is ok with this and fully approves this substitute. I, myself, was also once in the same boat.
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Old 20.07.2011, 22:45
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Re: Ehic

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Yes, it is MANDATORY to have health insurance, but there ARE other alternatives to buying one of the usual basic insurance policies from a Swiss health insurance. I know lots of people personally who work here and have a UK policy that qualifies or counts the same as if they had Swiss basic insurance. The authority (this is in Zurich) is ok with this and fully approves this substitute. I, myself, was also once in the same boat.
Absolutely. And as I mentioned in my post, there are other exemptions.

To update the thread then, I have not had confirmation through, either way. I'm taking "no news means good news." In any case, I'm 4 months into my term now and the end is in sight.

I've just been presented with an unexpected £200 bill from the landlord for "Nebenkosten" which are included in my contract. I'm frankly too fatigued by it all to argue (as I've seen others complaining about it on here). While the health insurance aspect of Swiss life may be sensible to a certain extent, having a contract which plainly is a fabrication as "included doesn't mean included" is the biggest scam I've ever encountered.

I'll be sad in many ways to leave Zurich as it's a pretty town, with polite people and a cleanliness I've only ever seen before in Canada, but some things really get my goat.
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Old 20.07.2011, 23:01
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Re: Ehic

Hi there

Please be aware that the EHIC does not entitle you to cost-free health care in Switzerland as a UK citizen. I found out the hard way when my mum ended up in intensive care during a holiday to see me here. She was charged the cost of the ambulance, paramedic, emergency doctor, drivers and mileage! She could only claim back from the UK 500 CHF of the 1750CHF bill. We were later told that if I had called the emergency doctor rather than the ambulance and he had rung for the ambulance then there would not have been a charge. Next time I need an ambulance I must remember that! Do not ring 144 direct unless there is health insurance or travel insurance (that covers preexisiting conditions) in place!
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Old 15.11.2011, 16:52
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Re: Ehic

Thanks so much for this thread. It was quite insightful. I've done a lot of research on health insurance and I find it quite difficult to dissect.

My situation is a bit similar to yours, except that I am not yet in possession of an EHIC. I was born in Canada but I have French citizenship. I have never worked in France or the EU, so I have no social insurance number. (Generally in France your SIN is granted upon your first job, I believe) I need a SIN to apply for a EHIC. I've looked into getting one but there seems to be no contact information on the social insurance website for France... *sigh*

In any case, I'll be residing in the canton of Vaud for 5 months. I don't have a job lined up and I'm not a registered student. I will go look for a job.

I'm really hoping I can somehow be exempt from the expensive Swiss health insurance, either due to my temporary stay (I heard that some cantons will accept international health insurance?) or because I have a EHIC (I heard unsuccessful stories with this one, not to mention that I never lived in France and don't pay for insurance there).

Any tips??? I've sent an e-mail to my canton office to ask about the international health insurance. No reply as of yet.
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Old 15.11.2011, 18:49
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Re: Ehic

What would happen to you if, in the first month, you were diagnosed with cancer? Your travel medical insurance has a fixed limit, and they will not pay above that level. Your foreign EHIC health card is only meant for emergencies. So either the Swiss tax payer steps in and pays for your treatment, or we watch you die horribly in pain. Everyone working here is able to, and must, buy Swiss health insurance.
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