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HEALTH

Have your say: Should Switzerland introduce a Covid-19 immunity pass?

Support is growing in Switzerland for the introduction of an Israel-style immunity card, which would allow holders to go to bars, visit the gym, attend events and travel. Do you support this idea - and would you get one?

Have your say: Should Switzerland introduce a Covid-19 immunity pass?
A man signing a consent form while holding the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). Photo: JENS SCHLUETER / AFP

Editor’s note: The results are in! Click here to see our readers’ verdict. 

Since starting its inoculation drive in December, Israel has become one of the world’s leaders in vaccinating for Covid-19. 

With more than a third of the population vaccinated as at mid-February, Israel has now introduced a vaccination passport which entitles holders to return to normal activities. 

From visiting bars, restaurants, events, fitness centres and even travel, the vaccination card allows those who have received both doses of the vaccine to return to some degree of normality. 

Whether through creating a specific passport based on vaccination or feeding data into the existing Swiss Covid app, support for such a plan is growing in Switzerland. 

‘A ticket back to normality’: Swiss support for vaccination pass grows

A leaked document obtained by the media on Tuesday showed the government’s tentative plan to allow vaccinated people to have certain privileges. 

Leaked: Switzerland’s proposal to allow certain benefits for vaccinated people 

Supporters argue that similar schemes already exist for travel and school attendance, making their extension to an end of coronavirus lockdown sensible. 

While the idea has received prominent support from Swiss politicians and health experts, some critics believe it represents a back door way to compulsory vaccination. 

Others have expressed concern that such an idea should not be introduced unless medical experts are convinced vaccinated people cannot spread the virus. 

Do you support the idea? Would you sign up for a vaccination passport? Have your say below. 

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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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