ACIDUL would like to disperse the news about a legal change concerning the insurance requirements for foreign researchers and doctoral students in Switzerland. Until now, these researchers covered by foreign health insurance could obtain an exemption to the Swiss insurance requirement because, according to the provenances of LAMal (law concerning National health insurance), these foreign insurances were approved as equivalent. This situation changed as of January 1, 2014. In effect, even though the canton did not revoke the equivalency of these foreign insurances, it discontinued the exemption for those whose brut salary exceeds 3,500 CHF/month or an employment (activité) over 50%. However, it seems that certain expatriates in government and diplomatic sectors can continue to benefit from these exemptions.
This was a motion put forth through national conseiller Christophe Darbellay, elected in 2012 to the federal parliament, which will interfere with the daily lives our foreign colleagues. It was in the name of “the principle of unity,” underlying the law concerning obligatory health insurance, through which Darbellay asked for the repeal of an amendment to OAMAL. Until now, this amendment offered the possibility for foreign teachers, students, and researchers to have an exception to the obligation to be affiliated with a Swiss insurance. Now it no longer exists.
Henceforth, foreign researchers have no other choice than to subscribe to a Swiss insurance. Now, these few hundred extra francs that are required each month to ensure medical coverage are a problem for young researchers, who are already find themselves financially precarious in their current employ.
In order to attempt to find a solution to this situation, certain researchers at UNIL have organized themselves. They have formed a Facebook page (here) attempting to share information on the issue, and they have decided to fight to improve not only their situation, but that of all researchers at UNIL, foreign and Swiss. Solutions exist. In certain private companies, employers contribute to the cost of the insurance for their employees. In another example, the researcher organization at EPFL has negotiated more financially advantageous conditions for a collective insurance, from which they can all benefit.
These solutions, if they are possible, require that a maximum number of people mobilize themselves on this topic. This signifies equally that they must be informed about the situation, which is actually not the case. In fact, ACIDUL finds it deplorable that the persons concerned themselves haven’t been directly informed of the legislative change, and thus find themselves caught in this situation unexpectedly. We regret above all that the “principle of unity” an important and fundamental ideal, has been applied with a focus on non-permanent employment at the lower earning scale, and we think that it’s time to apply this idea equally in a vertical manner; that is to say, aiding in the cost of health for those people who carry the most weight at UNIL.
ACIDUL relays the information of this movement and supports the efforts of this group of researchers. Don’t hesitate to turn to one another for more detailed information.
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