By asylum application for free surgery – watson

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For asylum seekers, the service catalog in the basic insurance applies without restrictions. Picture: AP

By asylum application for free surgery

Georgians come to Switzerland as asylum seekers for medical treatment.

tobias bear / switzerland at the weekend

According to the Asylum Act, those persons receive protection in Switzerland, who are persecuted in their country of origin and are threatened with life and limb. However, the law is "increasingly being extended to protect the medical needs of asylum seekers". This is how the deputy director of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Esther Maurer, cited in a journal of the Swiss Federal Migration Commission. People with often "very serious medical problems" applied for asylum "in order to be treated for free," Maurer continues in an interview. Switzerland is very attractive due to its well-developed healthcare system – and "quite generous" compared to other countries.

Asylum seekers are subject to health insurance in Switzerland. In the universal service, they receive the same benefits as other persons resident in Switzerland, without any restrictions on the service catalog. In the first phase, when they are in a federal center, all asylum seekers are insured with the CSS. This regulation has been in force since the beginning of June. After being distributed to the cantons, other funds are also possible, although the selection can be restricted to insurers with favorable conditions.

The federal government recently paid 82 million for asylum health costs

For persons dependent on social assistance in the area of ​​asylum, the canton pays the premiums, franchises and deductibles. There are again money from the federal government. In 2017, the federal subsidies for asylum seekers and those provisionally admitted for the health costs amounted to 117 million francs, compared to 82 million last year.

According to SEM spokesman Daniel Bach, people who seek asylum and seek medical treatment during the trial are from Georgia. Numbers can not call Bach. It concerns "few, but in part seriously ill persons". Georgians have no prospect of asylum in Switzerland, the country is considered a safe country of origin. However, repatriation will be postponed if a person is not fit to travel or their condition in Georgia would deteriorate dramatically due to lack of treatment options. During a visit to Georgia SEM boss Mario Gattiker made in September a picture of the medical offer. And he agreed with the Georgian Minister of Interior on increased cooperation in the fight against irregular migration.

According to the president of the Association of Cantonal Migration Authorities, Marcel Suter, there are occasional cases from other countries, such as Belarus and the Ukraine. The cantonal migration authorities are not aware of a strong increase. The health insurer CSS states that it is still too early for a clear conclusion, because the asylum seekers have only recently been reassured. It is not a very common phenomenon. "Our calculations so far do not indicate that asylum seekers cause above-average costs."

France only wants to handle emergencies

The Federal Council came to a different conclusion about two years ago. He responded to an SVP ruling that the average cost of asylum seekers in compulsory health care insurance was 8.8 percent higher in 2015 than the average cost of the other insured. According to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) there are no recent calculations. 2015 was also an exceptional year with many asylum applications. The figures are therefore only very limited meaningful, says the BAG.

Asylum applications for medical treatment are not limited to Switzerland. The French authorities also recently drew attention to "medical tourism". As a countermeasure, asylum seekers should in future only have access to the health system after three months – unless it is an emergency. The Zurich SVP National Council Gregor Rutz locates action in Switzerland. Asylum seekers should be able to "treat themselves, of course". However, if someone files a petition just for this purpose and not for an actual asylum reason, then that would be annoying, says Rutz. "We will certainly ask the State Secretariat for Migration this question."

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