You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when you are temporarily staying in Switzerland. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. If your illness requires regular treatment while you are temporarily staying abroad, contact the health care provider abroad in advance and agree on arranging the treatment. Treatments that need to be arranged in advance include, for example, dialysis, oxygen therapy, specialised care of asthma and chemotherapy as well as echocardiography in chronic autoimmune diseases.
You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals. It is advisable to carry copies of your European Health Insurance Card with you, along with the card itself. If you didn’t have your EHIC with you or it was not accepted, and you were required to pay all the costs of treatment yourself, you might be able to apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
In Switzerland, you pay a fixed deductible fee for the use of local public healthcare services. If the costs are lower than the fixed deductible, you pay it entirely yourself. The fee will be paid to Common Institution under the Federal Health Insurance Act of Switzerland, Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG.
Make an appointment with a general practitioner who has an agreement with the Swiss health insurance system (most doctors do). At the reception, show your valid European Health Insurance Card and your identity card. Different cantons (Switzerland has 26 cantons) have their own practices concerning the payment of doctor’s fees. In some cantons, you must first pay for the treatment yourself and then apply for reimbursement from GE KVG on the basis of the receipts. In other cantons, you will only be liable for the deductible.
You can see a specialist after receiving a referral from a general practitioner.
As a rule, you must pay any dentist costs yourself. GE KVG will only reimburse you for dentist costs when the need for treatment is due to an accident or a severe disease in the organs of occlusion. The payment procedure is similar to the other doctors.
Show your European Health Insurance Card and identity card in addition to the prescription when collecting your prescribed medicines at a pharmacy in Switzerland. This will entitle you to partial reimbursement for your medicines.
Hospital treatment is available with a referral from a general practitioner or specialist.
In case of urgent attacks of illness, you can go straight to the first aid of a hospital. Show your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card and request treatment paid by GE KVG on the public side of the hospital. In addition to the deductible, all patients over the age of 26 will be charged a fixed daily fee for hospital treatment. You can search for hospitals with a search engine on Spitalfinder website (in German or in French).
In Switzerland, hospitals will typically have both public and private patients. When seeking treatment as a private patient, you will be liable for the cost difference. GE KVG will only offer reimbursement for the costs of similar treatment on the public side.
50 percent of ambulance transport journeys are reimbursed. Reimbursements can only be received up to a certain limit each year, after which the patient pays the full cost of the ambulance transport. The reimbursement for the costs of rescue services (with helicopters) is also 50 percent up to the annual cap. Apply for reimbursement from GE KVG.
If your state of health requires you to use special transport when returning to Finland, you will be liable for the travel costs in their entirety. You are recommended to take out a travel insurance that covers these costs.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you want to travel to Switzerland to use healthcare services there, you should read our website for general information about seeking treatment abroad. The GE KVG website contains comprehensive information also in English.
You can search for doctors and dentists’ practices in different cantons with a search engine on Doktor.ch website (in German).
Quality and safety of treatment
In the event of treatment injuries, the legislation and patient insurance of the country providing the treatment is always applied. In case you are unhappy with the treatment you received, you should primarily try to sort the matter out with the treatment provider. The Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG in Switzerland can help you with finding the right authority if you wish to make a complaint.
The Swiss healthcare system includes both public and private healthcare services. A health insurance fund in Switzerland is an organization that provides health insurance under the compulsory health insurance system (KVG). The health insurance funds are non-profit organizations and have to be recognised by the Federal Department of Home Affairs. They are able to offer top-up insurance to complement the basic insurance if they wish.
The compulsory health insurance under the Health Insurance Law (KVG) ensures that everyone has access to high-quality, comprehensive health care. It offers the same range of services and benefits to all insured people. The top-up insurance is voluntary and covers a higher level of amenities (e.g. care in a semi-private or private ward in hospital) or additional services and benefits (treatment by naturopaths, routine dental treatment etc.).