In Switzerland, health insurance is a mandatory basic requirement.
The Federal Law on Health Insurance (KVG), which came into force on 1 January 1996, provides for compulsory general health care insurance throughout the country, and therefore for all residents of the Canton of Ticino.
This insurance cover must be held with a health insurer freely chosen by the citizen, provided that it is recognised by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
The Insurer is obliged to provide insurance to any person who so requests, irrespective of age or state of health, at least for compulsory cover.
More information can be found on the official website.
In accordance with article 2 para.4, persons residing in Switzerland as part of their education or advanced training, such as students, pupils, trainees and interns, from an EU country are exempt from the insurance requirement.
The Institute for Social Insurance (IAS), which acts as the competent cantonal authority, may waive the insurance requirement for a maximum of three years. The exemption may be extended for a further three years on request.
The person concerned may not revoke the exemption or refusal of such exemption without specific reasons.
The steps to be taken to apply for exemption from the health insurance requirement are:
The exemption request form must reach the relevant cantonal authority within three months of arrival in Switzerland.
Any exemption requests received after the three-month deadline cannot be considered and the people in question must take out compulsory insurance in Switzerland with the basic insurance (LAMal) for the duration of their stay.
N.B.: Exemption from compulsory health insurance is accepted only when the Social Insurance Institution holds a copy of the student's study permit.
Therefore, as soon as they receive it, students must send a copy to the Institute for Social Insurance as soon as possible.
Through the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana students from third countries can join Academic Care, offered by Groupe Mutuel insurance, at a very reasonable cost.
How do you join Academic Care?
The Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana then forwards the documentation to Groupe Mutuel, which sends the membership confirmation to your home.
In the event of illness (e. g. flu, general medical examination, etc.), students may consult a general practitioner.
It is the student's responsibility to obtain information about coverage of the cost of the medical examination.
Students who are exempt from compulsory health insurance (EU students) who have paid an invoice, can ask the Academic Services Office of the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana for help in applying to the relevant office for partial reimbursement of the invoice they have previously paid.
Students from outside the EU who have taken out insurance cover with Academic Care may request that the invoice be sent directly to Academic Care, which will deduct the invoice amount from the deductible and bill any costs to be borne by them.
In the event of an accident or emergency, students can contact the nearest emergency room themselves:
Ospedale Civico: Via Tesserete 46, 6900, Lugano
Ospedale Italiano: Via Capelli, 6962 Viganello
The terms referred to above apply to costs and methods of payment.