Sans-Papiers live under difficult conditions. Work is often strenuous and hard on the health. Added to this is the stress of living without an authorised residence status as well as being far from your home country. All of these factors may seriously impact your physical health and mental wellbeing. Some warning signals that you should pay atten- tion to and take seriously are back aches, bad moods and depression to name a few.
Don’t just live for others and the distant future. Set aside time for activities and things that you enjoy doing. Join and participate in a group or hang out with people to break away from isolation.
The health guidelines issued by the Swiss Red Cross, Caritas and the Federal Office of Health (Bundesamt für Gesundheit/BAG) provide further information (obtainable from the infor- mation centres for sans-papiers or from www.migesplus.ch).
Health is a human right, and that also applies to Sans-Papiers. If you are sick or injured,
you are entitled to receive medical care even if you are not insured.
Hospitals have social workers who can help you if you have any problems.
Doctors and hospital staff are bound to secrecy. They may not share any of your personal informa- tion with anyone or inform the police or migra- tion office. Violating the confidentiality obligation is a punishable offence.
You have the right to obtain medical and acci- dent insurance. Costs for medical treatment, hospital stays, pregnancy and giving birth will be covered by the health insurance company. Den- tal care is not covered under a standard health insurance policy.
However, health insurance in Switzerland is not free. You make a monthly payment referred to as a «Prämie» or premiumIn addition to the pre- miums, you must pay part of the cost of medical treatment – an annual franchise. Once the cost of treatment exceeds this franchise, you must contribute another 10% towards the costs («excess»). For those on a low income, several cantons offer a discount. This is referred to as «Prämienverbilligung» (reduction), and must be applied for (your local information centre can assist you with this matter).
The health insurance companies are also bound to secrecy. However, we suggest that when you take out an insurance policy, you provide the address of a reliable «legal» third party.
You can obtain information on contraceptives and abortion from doctors, hospitals and outreach centers (see addresses on back).
Condoms protect you from HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases. They do not require a doctor’s prescription and can be pur- chases over the counter at any pharmacy
or department store. You can undergo an HIV test free of charge and anonymously at special clinics.