Important information regarding access to medical services in Switzerland for UN retirees
Dear Insured Members,
In the context of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, we have received numerous requests regarding access to medical services in Switzerland for UN retirees.
The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) is conscious of the impact the situation is having on UN retirees, and has sought clarification from the Swiss authorities on this matter.
Please find below an important update in this regard.
Access to medical care in Switzerland for foreigners without a Swiss residence permit (including UN retirees who reside in France and who do not hold a Carte de Légitimation)
All those residing in France are required to observe the French authorities’ confinement requirements. This means you should only be traveling to Switzerland for a medical necessity that meets the French government requirements (explanation available at https://bit.ly/2V64xn9).
In addition, since 25 March, Switzerland has tightened its border measures. These measures mean that unfortunately, those without a Swiss residence permit or citizenship may not, in principle, travel to Switzerland to receive medical treatment.
The Swiss authorities have confirmed exceptions may be granted in the case of absolute necessity, i.e. for the continuation of a medical treatment that has begun in Switzerland and cannot be postponed without endangering the patient’s life.
This means retired staff members living in France and who do not have a Swiss residence permit must use French medical facilities, unless they have prior authorization and evidence that they are in a situation of absolute necessity, as explained above. There is a procedure defined for this, which is explained in the Note Verbale (click to access English version or French version)
If you require important medical care in Switzerland however you are not sure if it meets the requirement of ‘absolute necessity’, we recommend you contact your treating doctor for advice.
For ease of reference, a list of medical facilities in areas of neighboring France close to Geneva is available by clicking on this link. We also attach a link to the national order of doctors in France where you can search doctors by location and specialty; https://www.conseil-national.medecin.fr/annuaire
We take this opportunity to remind you that UNSMIS will reimburse all consultations conducted over the telephone and online tools such as Skype, so long as these are supported by a valid invoice detailing the care provided and, where necessary, a valid prescription.
Non-urgent medical interventions in Switzerland
For all those who in principle would be able to access medical care in Switzerland (e.g. because you live in Switzerland/have a Swiss residence permit or citizenship) please note that since 20 March 2020, the Swiss Federal Council has banned non-urgent interventions in Swiss hospitals.
For retirees who have an upcoming medical appointment in Switzerland (whether at the hospital or at a medical clinic), we therefore recommend that you check with your treating physician about whether the appointment is maintained.
We understand this is a very difficult time for many people and United Nations Office at Geneva is endeavoring to provide support to those who need it. If you have any questions regarding the information explained above, we invite you to email to email@example.com.