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Old 04.03.2013, 19:21
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Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

Just wondering if anyone had any experince getting their health insurance to pay for treatment abroad, if you were able to show it would be cheaper than getting it done in CH? I know my insurer stipulates it has to be in Switzerland, but what if I were able to make convincing argument?
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Old 04.03.2013, 20:00
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

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Just wondering if anyone had any experince getting their health insurance to pay for treatment abroad, if you were able to show it would be cheaper than getting it done in CH? I know my insurer stipulates it has to be in Switzerland, but what if I were able to make convincing argument?
Quite possible, if you ask, could even cost less than your excess........
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Old 04.03.2013, 20:04
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

We asked, and we were told that was not possible. We also offered to buy very expensive drugs cheaper in the UK, and again were told they would not cover drugs bought abroad. Check with your insurance.
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Old 04.03.2013, 20:08
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

Don't break the cartel. They won't like it.
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Old 04.03.2013, 20:58
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

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We asked, and we were told that was not possible. We also offered to buy very expensive drugs cheaper in the UK, and again were told they would not cover drugs bought abroad. Check with your insurance.
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Don't break the cartel. They won't like it.

Kind of what I was thinking would be the answer. Feckers.
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Old 04.03.2013, 21:24
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

A colleague of mine had 'cheap' surgery outside Switzerland, from their own pocket, got a blood infection and ended up needing to be airlifted from their town to the main hospital, and a week in intensive care...

Not something I would recommend...

I'd be surprised if your 'out of pocket' expenses of going privately outside the country would be lower than having it done locally and having it all covered under the normal swiss health insurance...

Plus they have to pay to repatriate you if something does go wrong...
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Old 04.03.2013, 21:31
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

I have had UK-bought glasses paid for by my swiss insurance.... but had to produce a swiss prescription for the lenses when I claimed the cost back.

Also once reclaimed medication prescribed by an NHS doctor for a recurrent eye condition (treated in A&E), I just had to provide a receipt. Which was more painful to extract from the strop-bag of a nurse than the eye problem was, which is saying something! The hospital side of it was presumably covered directly through reciprocal agreements between CH and the UK.

Not sure about pre-arranged treatment abroad, but am pretty certain I've read recently that some Caisse Maladie are actively encouraging this if it worked out cheaper overall and a few of them are now setting up arrangements with french hospitals to this end.

Last edited by Anjela; 04.03.2013 at 21:42. Reason: yet again, spelling
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Old 04.03.2013, 21:35
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The reason I ask is that I might need specialist orthopaedic surgery by an experienced surgeon, and I'm having problems finding suc a doctor n Switzerland. There are however several experienced and highly rated surgeons in Germany. I'm not looking for cheap, backstreet surgery.
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Old 04.03.2013, 21:40
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

Ok, you did mention it 'possibly being cheaper' in your first post.

If your insurance has vetoed the abroad option (I'm presuming you've asked), what do they propose as an acceptable alternative?
Do they have a list of surgeons/hospitals that can provide the correct level of care for your problem?
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Old 05.03.2013, 08:06
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

I know there is an option to upgrade to "premium packages" with some insurers which specifically state WORLDWIDE and you can choose where you are going to have your treatment. This can be done (if I am not mistaken) any time during the year, age may be the limit. Please, check with your insurer whether they offer anything along these lines. Also one can get the premium package from a different insurer.
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Old 05.03.2013, 09:56
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

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The reason I ask is that I might need specialist orthopaedic surgery by an experienced surgeon, and I'm having problems finding suc a doctor n Switzerland. There are however several experienced and highly rated surgeons in Germany. I'm not looking for cheap, backstreet surgery.
I know of one case of where it was allowed, but the guy lived close to the German border and that was part of the reason why the insurer agreed.
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Old 05.03.2013, 10:22
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

An interesting question - and please keep us up-dated, i'd be very interested to know. But really, you need to talk to your own insurance for advice- they probably will recommend an approved surgeon here.

Bonne chance - and as said, keep us up-dated.

It would be interesting to know how this would work out in our case. Now that OH is over 65, our medical Insurance is picked-up by the British Govment as per reciprocal arrangement (as we are both retired here- but paid all our working lives in the UK). Would they agree to us having any op in the UK, as it would be cheaper than here. Officially as residents here we are not entitled to use the NHS at all.
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Old 05.03.2013, 10:39
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

Had an appointment with our GP today (advanced arthrosis in both hips btw ), and posed the same question; his response was the same, just ask our insurance. In the meantime, he suggested we get in touch with some surgeons in the UK or Germany and he will make enquiries amongst his colleagues. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 05.03.2013, 10:44
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

If you're lined up for hip replacement, why not just do it here?

My father-in-law did a hip about 3 years ago and it was a breeze. Local means no need for flying or long trips to and from the treatment.
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Old 05.03.2013, 11:34
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

Flying and long-car trips post op could have severe risk of thrombosis, no? Hip replacements are routine here, so why not have the op here, as said above. Better too to have post-op care by the same surgeon, + physio from same team, etc.
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Old 05.03.2013, 11:42
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

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If you're lined up for hip replacement, why not just do it here?

My father-in-law did a hip about 3 years ago and it was a breeze. Local means no need for flying or long trips to and from the treatment.
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Flying and long-car trips post op could have severe risk of thrombosis, no? Hip replacements are routine here, so why not have the op here, as said above. Better too to have post-op care by the same surgeon, + physio from same team, etc.
It's not a hip replacement I'm after (although it is an option), but a hip resurfacing, which is a newer procedure designed for younger, active people (such as me). If I was in my 60s or 70s I wouldn't heitate for a full prosthesis, but I'm still in my 40s and intend to maintain a pretty active life for the foreseeable future. The most experienced surgeons for this operation are based in Birmingham (look up the Birmingham Hip replacement, BHR) and is an avenue I am pursuing. There is a clinic in Zurich which performs the procedure, but are scaling back how many they do, because of certain risks which are coming to light (almost exclusively in women though), and I'm not sure how many procedures they have done (surgeon skill and experience is one the most important factors for successful surgery).
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Old 05.03.2013, 11:47
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

My father-in-law is still extremely active, he's only in his late 50s (I had to check on Wikipedia, lol!) and had it done at about 55.

But of course 10 or more years can present different opportunities. The good news is that you're looking for subject matter expertise rather than health tourism - don't forget to stress that repeatedly Good luck!
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Old 05.03.2013, 12:22
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

A neighbour, who is in his late 40's, has just had a hip replacement op. (just one, I think). He is very sporty ....... ironically the doctors think it was the strain of sport that aggravated the problem.

I assume (only wife has spoken with him), that it was done locally (Bern/Fribourg), and apparently everything went well - he's just disappointed that he wasn't able to go back to work after a week.
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Old 05.03.2013, 13:02
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

They're very unlikely to do a full hip replacement on somebody as young as you unless it's really absolutely necessary. My mum had hers following and accident when she was 48. The first one lasted 15 years and the second one about eight before they needed replacing. They like to leave it as late as possible so as to minimize the likelihood of having to replace the replacement. A third replacement as in my mum's case is relatively rare.

To answer you original question my husband had a hernia repair carried out in Belgium whilst being employed, resident and insured here in Switzerland.
The insurers were CSS and they covered everything but it may vary depending on the insurer. You should just ask them. You may be pleasantly surprised by their response.
Our case may have been exceptional though as I was still living in Belgium then so it made sense in terms if aftercare for him to have the op there.
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Old 07.03.2013, 13:26
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Re: Medical treatment abroad. Insurance paid?

I recently had eye surgery in the Netherlands (medically required - not Lasik!). It was the most up-to-date form of the surgery, performed by a top doctor, and not yet available in Switzerland. I asked the insurance company if they would cover it, on the basis that I couldn't get this particular surgery in Switzerland, but they refused. When I arrived here last year, I was actually turned down for the one supplementary insurance module that would have covered non-emergency treatment abroad, but thought I would give it a try anyway. Wasn't too surprised it was declined.
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