Exemption from Swiss health insurance for current and former employed members of the CERN personnel and their families

In a note verbale dated 15 November 2017, the Swiss authorities informed the Organization that the Swiss Federal Council had adopted a revised version of the Ordonnance sur l’assurance maladie (OAMal - ordinance on health insurance), bringing an end to the issues encountered over the past year by the family members of current and former employed members of the CERN personnel. You can find the note verbale at the following link: OAMal Note Verbale

At CERN’s request, the Swiss authorities have provided the following additional information:

A - Regarding “Members of family, who do not enjoy privileges and immunities, of staff members of the international organisations” (cf. point 2 of the note verbale):

The obligation to apply for an exemption concerns anyone who has not already been formally exempted (people who have not obtained, before the revised version of the OAMal ordinance enters into force, an official document confirming their exemption from the obligation to have Swiss health insurance cover should request such a document from the relevant cantonal authority).

The exemption takes effect on the date corresponding to the reason for the exemption, i.e.

  • for people who are already members of the CERN Health Insurance Scheme on or before
    1 January 2018: the exemption applies from the date on which the revised ordinance enters into force (i.e. 1 January 2018);
  • for people who become members of the CERN Health Insurance Scheme after
    1 January 2018: the exemption applies from the date on which membership of the CERN Health Insurance Scheme begins.

Members of Swiss health insurance schemes may cancel their policies from the date on which the exemption begins and, where relevant, the Swiss health insurance provider will be required to reimburse any premiums paid after 1 January 2018. Those concerned are also advised to inform the Swiss health insurance provider of their application for exemption on the basis of the new article 6, paragraph 4, of the revised OAMal ordinance.

There is nothing to stop those concerned who are already members of the CERN Health Insurance Scheme from submitting their application for exemption before 1 January 2018, in which case they will receive a decision from the health insurance service sooner.

B. Regarding “Staff members who have terminated their functions, and members of their family” (point 3 of the note verbale):

Article 6, paragraph 3, of the present OAMal ordinance already allows international civil servants who have terminated their functions to be exempted upon request.

Those who have terminated their functions before 1 January 2018 and have not already submitted an application for exemption (or obtained a document from the health insurance service confirming their exemption) must do so before 31 December 2017. After this date, the authorities will consider them to have waived the option to be exempt and their decision will be irrevocable (cf. last sentence of the new article 6, paragraph 3, of the revised OAMal ordinance). They might therefore be signed up with a Swiss health insurance provider by default.

Important note for family members: if exemption was refused in the past on the basis of the current OAMal ordinance (which does not mention the family members of international civil servants who have terminated their functions), those concerned may submit a new application on the basis of the revised OAMal. In such cases, the three-month deadline also applies.

For any specific questions, please contact the health insurance service for the relevant canton.

For the Canton of Geneva, contact: Service de l'assurance-maladie; Route de Frontenex 62; 1207 Genève; Tel.  +41 22 546 19 00; E-mail sam@etat.ge.ch.

For the Canton of Vaud, contact: Office vaudois de l'assurance-maladie; Ch. de Mornex 40; 1014 Lausanne; Tel. +41 21 557 47 47; E-mail info.ovam@vd.ch.

Human Resources department