Could glasses and contact lenses soon be covered by Swiss health insurance?

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery - [email protected]
Could glasses and contact lenses soon be covered by Swiss health insurance?
At present, glasses and contact lenses are not covered by mandatory Swiss health insurance, outside a few specific cases. Photo: David Thorn / Unsplash

The Swiss health system is ranked among the best in the world, but some essentials, like glasses, aren't automatically covered by health insurance. That could soon change, however


Green Party Federal Councillor Katharina Prelicz-Huber revealed in an interview with newspaper 20 Minuten this week that the Federal Parliament had tabled a motion to include prescription glasses and contact lenses in Switzerland's mandatory health insurance scheme. 

Prelicz-Huber stated: "The purpose of compulsory health insurance is to provide the services you need to get or stay healthy,"

The motion forms part of the legislation that will be voted on during the 2024 summer session of the Federal Council. 

Proposed changes 

According to Switzerland's peak optician body, 4 in 5 Swiss wear glasses or contact lenses at some point. 

It's no surprise that statistics repository, Statista, projects the Swiss eyewear industry to be worth €1.37 billion by 2028. 

Currently, glasses and contact lenses are covered for up to 180 francs for children until age eighteen, if they are proscribed by a doctor.

Adults can also claim money back for glasses and contact lenses - however, they must be suffering from one of a short list of specific conditions such as keratoconus - where the cornea is distorted - or severe myopia, otherwise known as near-sightedness.


They must also have been specifically prescribed them by a doctor or optometrist. 

Otherwise, supplemental optical insurance must be purchased in Switzerland to ensure you can recoup the cost. 

Under the Green Party proposal, glasses, contact lenses, and other visual aids would be covered, regardless of age. 

Rising premiums prompt opposition 

Not everybody agrees with the proposal. 

The right-wing SVP has already spoken out against it, with Federal Councillor Diana Gutjahr arguing: "If we seriously want to slow down the burdensome and constantly rising health costs for the benefit of the population, we [must] show the political will not to constantly expand the benefits of compulsory health insurance."


A spokesman for the the health insurance advocacy group Santesuisse, Matthias Müller, echoed Gutjahr, claiming that insurance constitutes "financing for extraordinary events such as illness."

"If almost everyone benefits from a certain service, it is no longer an insurance benefit."

A date for the vote has yet to be announced. 



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