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Emergency room visits to cost 50 francs in Switzerland

Emergency room visits to cost 50 francs in Switzerland
An ambulance approaches Geneva University Hospital. Emergency room visits will now cost 50 francs in Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
People who visit the emergency room for non-urgent treatment will now need to pay 50 francs after the Swiss government issued final approval for a rule change.

The proposal was originally developed by Zurich National Council member Thomas Weibel and received approval by the National Council in 2019. 

The Council of States on Wednesday accepted the parliamentary initiative, meaning that people who seek treatment in the emergency room for non-urgent health issues a fee of 50 francs. 

This will be introduced as a co-pay, meaning that the patients would have to pay out of their own pockets (i.e. it will not be covered by insurance). 

READ MORE: Switzerland to introduce 50 franc fee for emergency room visits

MPs argued that this measure may dissuade those who are not seriously ill from going to the emergency room and overloading the system, while also taking medical staff away from patients who need urgent help.

Opponents countered that this may discourage people from visiting hospital who actually need treatment, however the measure passed with a narrow majority. 

EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about health insurance in Switzerland

No concrete indications were given as to what amounts to ’non-urgent’ treatment in the eyes of the law.

This is expected to be laid out by the National Council who are now charged with the responsibility of drafting the rules. 

Exemptions could apply to children and adolescents under the age of 16, patients referred to the emergency room by a doctor, and those whose treatment subsequently requires hospitalisation.


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