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HEALTH

UPDATE: Will France be placed on Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine list?

Amid rising infections, France has been the latest country to cross Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine threshold. Swiss authorities are meeting to discuss placing its western neighbour on the quarantine list.

UPDATE: Will France be placed on Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine list?
A barrier is removed at a border crossing between France and Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Infection rates in France are now higher than 60 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days, exceeding the threshold for the Swiss government to deem it a ‘high risk’ country. 

Swiss media reports that the Federal Council will meet to decide on whether France should be placed on the mandatory ten-day quarantine list. 

As reported by The Local Switzerland on Friday, placing France on the list is problematic due to the close economic and social ties between the countries. 

An estimated 180,000 residents of France cross the border daily into Switzerland to work, with the majority working in Geneva, Vaud and Basel City. 

The government has not yet indicated whether it would require cross-border workers to quarantine, however special concessions have been made for cross-border workers since the start of the pandemic

Tens of thousands of Swiss also cross the border into France to go shopping, with a quarantine meaning that anyone who entered France – even if just for the purposes of shopping – would be required to quarantine for ten days upon their return. 

UPDATED: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new quarantine requirement 

A representative of the Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes that “shopping in France would not be possible” if a quarantine came into place. 

Other countries including the Netherlands, Libya, Lebanon and Paraguay are also approaching Switzerland’s quarantine threshold. 

While the government said the list would be updated monthly when it was first implemented, however so far updates have been made immediately as a country crosses the threshold. 

As of August 25th, there are more than 50 countries with an infection rate above Switzerland’s threshold of ‘high risk’. 

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HEALTH

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad
 

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