Applying For The European
Health Insurance Card (EHIC) In Switzerland

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Home to some of the world’s foremost organizations in health, science, humanitarianism, and social sciences, among others, Switzerland has always been known for its tolerance, neutrality, high standards of living, exceptionally high quality of life, and emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention, and taking responsibility for one’s health. It is no wonder that many leaders both in the government and in the health sector visit Switzerland to help them in their policy-making and to learn about the different principles espoused by the Swiss in promoting and maintaining healthier and happier lives. And if you’re curious to learn if you can use your European Health Insurance Card here, then read on.

Switzerland is one of 4 countries that make up the smaller regional grouping called the European Free Trade Association which also includes Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland. The country was supposed to join the European Economic Area but a mandatory referendum saw a majority of Swiss rejecting the proposed inclusion. The other 3 members of EFTA have all agreed to become part of the EEA which also includes the 28 nations that officially make up the European Union.

So, can you use your EHIC – which replaced E111 – if Switzerland is not a member of both the EU and the EEA? The simple answer is yes, you can still use your EHIC in Switzerland even though it is not a member of the EEA. But there’s a catch. The acceptance of EHIC in Switzerland depends on existing bilateral agreements between your country and Switzerland. If your country doesn’t have a bilateral agreement with the Swiss government, then there is a likelihood that your country’s EHIC won’t be accepted by Swiss healthcare providers. Similarly, your country may not also accept the EHIC of Swiss nationals seeking treatment. But, if your country and Switzerland has bilateral agreement, then residents from both nations can use their EHICs on each other. The good news is that almost all countries in the EEA have bilateral agreements with Switzerland.

When you use your EHIC in Switzerland you are essentially exercising your right to high quality health care which the Swiss public health system is known the world over. With more than 300 world class hospitals spread throughout the country and connected to each other by one of the most efficient transportation networks in the planet, getting premium health care in Switzerland is a breeze. Unfortunately, it is this premium quality that also adds to its cost. While this may not be a problem among the world’s rich and famous, it may not be good news at all to the average modern-day family who may simply want to enjoy the sights and experiences of Switzerland’s famous landscapes. The EHIC (formerly the E111 Form) can be a great help in this regard.

Aside from its superb transportation network, Switzerland also boasts of residents who are fluent in English. This simply means you will be able to communicate better whatever it is you are feeling. This can help in the more accurate and more prompt diagnosis of your condition which can then become the basis for the planning and implementation of world class health care. Also, you don’t need a phrasebook anymore.

While EHIC doesn’t automatically guarantee free healthcare services, when you do have to pay for these, they are often at a significantly reduced price. Try not to bring your EHIC when you seek treatment and you can be faced with a humongous medical or hospitalization bill. Remember that Switzerland has an unusually high standard of living and as such almost everything will be expensive. This is especially true if you are a foreigner. This is one reason why it’s always a good idea to double up on your EHIC with an additional travel insurance. These should be complementary to each other. The EHIC allows you to become a temporary resident even if it is only on matters of health.

There are certain treatments that are nevertheless free of charge. For example, maternity care is freely provided. However, it must be proven that you didn’t enter Switzerland just so you could give birth. If that’s the case, EHIC cannot cover you. If you have an existing chronic condition, this can be treated by the Swiss health authorities provided you book for these treatments well ahead of time.

Obtain Your EHIC before Traveling

If you’re planning to go to Switzerland for a holiday, make sure to obtain a valid European Health Insurance Card. The easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to apply is via online method. You can use MyEHIC’s well-known services to help you obtain the EHIC that will give you protection while on a holiday in Switzerland.