Health insurance

General information

In Switzerland, basic health insurance is a mandatory requirement. The Federal Law on Health Insurance (KVG) provides for compulsory general healthcare 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) and by the Public Health Office in the Canton or residence. 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 of the Institute for Social Insurance of Ticino.

What foreign students should do

Students of the University of Music of the Conservatorio who are not Swiss nationals must comply with mandatory healthcare insurance cover in one of the following ways, depending on their country of origin:

  1. European Union citizens may request the exemption from compulsory general healthcare insurance by having their home country’s health insurance recognized by local authorities
  2. Non-European Union citizens may comply in one of the following ways:
    1. By signing and insurance policy with a Swiss private insurer
    2. By requesting the recognition of a foreign insurance policy

Request for exemption from compulsory basic health insurance for EU students

The Institute for Social Insurance (IAS) in Ticino, which acts as the competent cantonal authority, may waive the insurance requirement for a maximum of three years to those students who submit the necessary request documentation. The exemption may be extended for an extra three years upon 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 compulsory general healthcare insurance are:

  1. fill out the exemption request form TI 6.1 (available in the Academic Services Office);
  2. attach a photocopy of your European Health Insurance Card (a document issued by the insurance company in your country of origin);
  3. send the documentation to the Institute for Social Insurance (IAS, Via Canonico Ghiringhelli 15, 6500 Bellinzona).

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 evaluated and the person in question must take out compulsory insurance in Switzerland with the basic insurance for the duration of their stay.

N.B.: Exemption from compulsory health insurance is accepted only when the Institute for Social Insurance 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.

Joining a Swiss health insurance fund for non-EU students

Through the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana students from third countries can join Studentpass, by Swisscare (a Swiss company), at a very reasonable cost.

How do you join Studentpass:

  1. Head over to the Secretary office
  2. Fill out the exemption request form TI 6.1 (available in the Academic Services Office);
  3. Sign the Studentpass registration form (issued by the Academic Services Office)

The Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana then forwards the documentation to Swisscare, which in turn sends the membership confirmation to the Conservatorio. The billing cycle for this product is managed by the Conservatorio.

In alternative, it is also possible to sign a private insurance policy with one of the following insurance companies:

  • Advisor:
  • Evasan:

In these cases, the student will have to contact the insurance companies directly and follow their application procedures.

Request for recognition of a foreign insurance policy for non-EU students

Non-EU students may request the exemption from compulsory general healthcare insurance by having their foreign health insurance policy recognized in Switzerland. Only policies that are equivalent to the Swiss basic universal coverage may be recognized.

The steps to be taken to apply for exemption from the health insurance requirement are:

  1. Fill out the exemption request form TI 6.3 (available in the Academic Services Office). This form must be signed both by the student and by the foreign insurer;
  2. Send the documentation to the Institute for Social Insurance (IAS, Via Canonico Ghiringhelli 15, 6500 Bellinzona)

There is no guarantee that the foreign insurance policy will be recognized, and in the case the request is rejected, the student will be forced to sign a contract with a Swiss company starting from the day or arrival in Switzerland (i.e. health insurance coverage becomes compulsory on the moment the student arrives in Switzerland).

N.B.: Based on past experiences, we can say that policies that don’t have an expenditure limit may be recognized as valid.

What to do in the event of illness

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. As a general rule, students who are insured by a Swiss company may ask for the costs of the visit to be billed directly to the insurer under the condition that a valid insurance card is presented. The insurer will then detract these costs from the deductibles and bill the student if necessary.

Students who are exempt from compulsory health insurance (EU students), on the other hand, may be asked to pay directly for their medical expenses, after which they may request for a refund of the said expenses to the LAMal Common Institution. Students can ask the Academic Services Office for help in applying to this kind of refund (special conditions apply). More information is available in the LAMal Common Institution’s website, under the voice “Persons who are domiciled in Switzerland”.

N.B.: the LAMal Common Institution coordinates the international billing cycle of the medical expenses generated by EU citizens living in Switzerland with their respective countries of origin.

Recommended medical centre:

  • Centro Medico (Lugano train station):, T. + 41 91 640 26 26

What to do in case of emergency

In case of accident or emergency, students should head to the nearest emergency centre. For information on coverage of costs, please read the previous chapter.

Emergency numbers:

  • Emergency number: 112
  • Ambulance: 144
  • Help line: 143
  • REGA, rescue helicopter: 1414
  • Urgent cases of intoxication: 145
  • Emergency number for youth (Pro Juventute): 147

Recommended medical facilities:

  • Ospedale Civico: Via Tesserete 46, 6900, Lugano
  • Ospedale Italiano: Via Capelli, 6962 Viganello



Academic Services Office