UPDATED: Swiss government to cover costs of coronavirus tests for all app users

UPDATED: Swiss government to cover costs of coronavirus tests for all app users
An example of coronavirus testing in Germany. Photo: Christof STACHE / AFP
Swiss Parliament will vote on Wednesday to cover the costs of testing for coronavirus for all users of the SwissCovid app who have received a warning.

Swiss Parliament wants to bring to an end a cost dispute between health insurance companies and the cantons by covering the cost of coronavirus tests. 

Since April, coronavirus tests have cost CHF95 in Switzerland, but insurers and cantonal authorities have argued over who is actually responsible for picking up the bill. 

In some cantons and with certain healthcare plans the tested patient has had to pay the cost – and is then unsure who is responsible to reimburse it. 

With the SwissCovid app to be launched on June 25th, the federal government has said it should pick up the bill for the testing – provided that the tested person received a notification through the app. 

Q&A: How will Switzerland's coronavirus tracing app work?

As reported in Swiss tabloid Blick, the government is concerned that uncertainty surrounding the cost may discourage people from getting tested.

Health Minister Alain Berset said on Wednesday the decision to cover the costs was to encourage testing and use of the app. 

“From now on there is no deductible anymore, because this can be a hurdle to get tested. We therefore decided to take this hurdle to keep the pandemic under control,” he said.

“We are on the threshold of a new phase, which is why the costs are no longer borne by the cantons or health insurance companies, but by the Federal Council.”

Who was previously responsible for paying the price of coronavirus testing? 

Coronavirus tests have cost 95 francs since April.

Under the current framework, a person with severe symptoms who needs medical treatment will have the cost paid by the health insurer – or in depending on their health insurance provider will occasionally be liable for part of the cost themselves. 

However, if a person only has mild or no symptoms – or has come into contact with an infected person – the costs are covered by the canton. 

Under the new plan, approved on Wednesday, all costs will be covered by the federal government provided the tested person has received a notification through the app. 

An estimated 8,000 tests are carried out in Switzerland per day. 

 

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.