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Old 22.03.2015, 05:16
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Does basic insurance cover oncology?

I am moving to Zurich end of May. I will have just finished with cancer surgery. I will need an oncologist immediately. Can I purchase insurance before moving or how would one proceed? Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old 22.03.2015, 07:56
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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I am moving to Zurich end of May. I will have just finished with cancer surgery. I will need an oncologist immediately. Can I purchase insurance before moving or how would one proceed? Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Hi, welcome to the forum.

You will definitely be covered for oncological treatment in basic insurance. What you probably won't get into is supplementary insurance (meaning free choice of doctors, fancy hospital rooms, private hospitals) because you have a preexisting condition. But your treatment is covered, health insurance in CH is mandatory and therefore everyone has to take it out.

To select the best insurance company cost-wise, I suggest comparis. They have a glossary which is very informative.

For further info on health insurance, check out this thread: Health insurance for my wife? how does it work (especially post #7) as well as this thread Health Insurance- Cancer

As for the process of signing up for health insurance, the procedure is outlined here on comparis but I'd recommend you contact your insurance company of choice even before moving here and get the documents mailed to your current address or a very trusted friend's in Switzerland. Then bring them along to your commune when you arrive in Switzerland, as AFAIK you will have to show proof of having health insurance when signing up in a new commune/moving.
Beware that if you don't inform your commune of your chosen insurance company, you'll be signed up with one by the commune.
Got Insurance, Now who do i tell

To be on the safe side regarding immediate hassle-free accessibility of treatment, ask your insurance company of choice if they'll let you pay the first month's premium immediately. That way you should be covered and have access to all healthcare, not only emergency, from the moment you set foot in CH and establish residency at the commune.

I'd inquire with your current doctor if he/she can recommend a colleague in Zürich (especially important as you've just come out of surgery), contact said colleague, mention that you've already signed up with health insurance/are in the process of doing so and ask if you can come in for a first meeting/checkup in the first days of your arrival.
Have your current doc send your medical records to the new doc.
This way, you'd not run into the hassle of having to go to the ER (University hospital Zürich, in case you need it, would be the place to go), you'd be able to get to know your new doc right away (don't forget to bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - which will be supplied to you by your health insurance company - to the first appointment!) and he'd have your medical information.


A word of advice: As you're probably at high risk of repeated medical treatment and in Switzerland we're required to pay premiums (monthly amounts due), deductible (a yearly maximum between CHF 300 and CHF 2500) as well as a retention fee of 10% of bills, up to a maximum of CHF 700 per year, I would recommend choosing the lowest franchise (CHF 300). That way, you will have higher premiums but will end up with lower medical expenses than with a high franchise. With the CHF 300 deductible, you have to pay CHF 1000 out of pocket if you incur the costs plus the premiums irrespective of how your state of health is, whereas with a CHF 2500 deductible you'd have to pay CHF 3200 out of pocket if you incur the costs plus the premiums irrespective of how your state of health is - quite a difference, which can be especially hard to deal with if you're hit with a bill for the whole deductible at once because of, say, surgery.

Also - with your medical history, I'd strongly recommend having your health insurance card on you at all times, in case you need to go see a doctor, head to a hospital or go to a pharmacy to get meds. It makes things way less stressful and facilitates many, many things.

Last but not least I'd recommend signing up with the REGA (Swiss Air Rescue) - they can fly you to Switzerland in case of an emergency, for a small yearly fee (CHF 30 for a single person IIRC).


Hope that helps. Best of luck.

Last edited by glowjupiter; 27.12.2015 at 14:30. Reason: fixed terms
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Old 22.03.2015, 20:14
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Wow, thank you so much glowjupiter. I am getting married on July 16th to a swiss. He is going to ask his GP for a referral or recommendation for an oncologist. I have been planing my move to Zurich for almost a year and then got diagnosed with breast cancer last month so it has put a different spin on it. I really appreciate all of the information/links that you took the time to put in your post. I need to do more research on the supplemental insurance but I am hoping that basic will be decent coverage as well. In the States if you don't have insurance, you are delegated to "county hospitals" which can be a nightmare. I will get going on choosing a carrier. Thanks again!

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Wow, thank you so much glowjupiter. I am getting married on July 16th to a swiss. He is going to ask his GP for a referral or recommendation for an oncologist. I have been planing my move to Zurich for almost a year and then got diagnosed with breast cancer last month so it has put a different spin on it. I really appreciate all of the information/links that you took the time to put in your post. I need to do more research on the supplemental insurance but I am hoping that basic will be decent coverage as well. In the States if you don't have insurance, you are delegated to "county hospitals" which can be a nightmare. I will get going on choosing a carrier. Thanks again!
A side note here is that I don't require any radiation or chemotherepy. I will only need follow ups for blood counts.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 22.03.2015 at 21:16. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 22.03.2015, 20:27
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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Wow, thank you so much glowjupiter. I am getting married on July 16th to a swiss. He is going to ask his GP for a referral or recommendation for an oncologist. I have been planing my move to Zurich for almost a year and then got diagnosed with breast cancer last month so it has put a different spin on it. I really appreciate all of the information/links that you took the time to put in your post. I need to do more research on the supplemental insurance but I am hoping that basic will be decent coverage as well. In the States if you don't have insurance, you are delegated to "county hospitals" which can be a nightmare. I will get going on choosing a carrier. Thanks again!
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A side note here is that I don't require any radiation or chemotherepy. I will only need follow ups for blood counts.
It's not only decent, it is absolutely sufficient. No need to worry at all.
Supplemental insurance is not "necessary" in the strict sense, but it would add comfort (which is not equivalent to better healthcare). Because you already have a preexisting condition, you can forget being accepted for it though.

Perhaps have your current oncologist speak to your husband's GP for the referral as well? Not dissing your husband in any way, but your oncologist would have all your medical documents on hand and would be able to tell the GP what would be the most important for you in the new oncologist's skill set.

Again, rest assured that you will get all the necessary care here (radiation, surgeries, chemo, blood counts etc. etc.) with basic insurance, and that it does not mean that you'll be a "second-class citizen" in any way. The Swiss healthcare system is excellent and I must take my hat off to it. If you are e.g. in a small hospital and they notice that you need specialized care which they can't offer, you will be taken to more suitably equipped hospitals (e.g. the Uni hospital in Zürich) for care. You'll be absolutely fine.

Glad I could help you.
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Old 22.03.2015, 20:35
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

My current oncologist did ask if I was able to that have a doctor he could communicate with before I left for Zurich, it would be ideal. No problem, neither of us knew anything about breast cancer until I got it. I am very lucky in that I caught it early and it is treatable with surgery. I am already using the links you sent. You are a wealth of information!
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Old 22.03.2015, 20:37
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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My current oncologist did ask if I was able to that have a doctor he could communicate with before I left for Zurich, it would be ideal. No problem, neither of us knew anything about breast cancer until I got it. I am very lucky in that I caught it early and it is treatable with surgery. I am already using the links you sent. You are a wealth of information!
Good to know, and thanks for the compliment.
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Old 22.03.2015, 20:44
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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A side note here is that I don't require any radiation or chemotherepy. I will only need follow ups for blood counts.
You should get a rough idea of costs as taking the minimum franchise may turn out to be a bad deal. A 2500 franchise saved 1700 last time I checked v 300 CHF so the only extra risk is 500 CHF with a large potential saving. I am always surprised how cheap medical cost are in CH, in 20 years of living in CH I paid 100% myself & never spent 1000 CHF.
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Old 22.03.2015, 21:17
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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You should get a rough idea of costs as taking the minimum franchise may turn out to be a bad deal. A 2500 franchise saved 1700 last time I checked v 300 CHF so the only extra risk is 500 CHF with a large potential saving. I am always surprised how cheap medical cost are in CH, in 20 years of living in CH I paid 100% myself & never spent 1000 CHF.
That depends - will you still be saving on a franchise of CHF 2500 if you incur a bill of say CHF 15'000 (and yes, sometimes surgeries cost that much) or would it then have been cheaper to take out a lower franchise?

It's always a matter of calculation, of guesstimating how expensive one's treatment might become during a year - and only then one will be able to evaluate which franchise is best. I gave my recommendation based on expectation of very high costs.

Example 1: OP only needs to go to the doc say, ten times this year and each visit costs CHF 200.-, totaling bills at CHF 2'000.-

- With a franchise of CHF 300.-, she'll pay CHF 470.- (CHF 300.- franchise plus 10% of CHF 1700.-) plus premiums, and insurance will pay CHF 1'530.-.
- With a franchise of CHF 2'000.-, she'll pay CHF 2'000.- out of her franchise plus premiums and insurance won't cover anything.

Example 2: OP needs to have expensive treatment done which totals at CHF 10'000.-

- With a franchise of CHF 300.-, she'll pay CHF 1000.- (CHF 300.- franchise plus 700.- retention fee (less than 10% of CHF 9'700.-, but the maximum limit of retention fee costs payable by the insured party)) plus premiums. Insurance will cover CHF 9'000.-
- With a franchise of CHF 2'000.-, she'll pay CHF 2'700.- (CHF 2000.- franchise plus 700.- (less than 10% of CHF 8'000.-, because retention fee is capped at CHF 700.-) plus premiums. So insurance will cover CHF 7'300.-.

Based on this kind of calculations one can then estimate the risk of wanting to take out higher or lower franchise, remembering that premiums always have to be paid no matter the amount of treatment needed in a year.
The requirement of premium payment can be a very different kind of hurdle depending on if one is looking at the possibility of having to shell out a max. amount of say CHF 470.- versus CHF 2k or if one is facing the possibility of having to fork over CHF 1k versus CHF 2.7k.

The large potential saving can turn into a large potential loss with severe illnesses.

Last edited by glowjupiter; 22.03.2015 at 21:52. Reason: clarification
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Old 22.03.2015, 21:17
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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A word of advice: As you're probably at high risk of repeated medical treatment and in Switzerland we're required to pay premiums (monthly amounts due), franchise (a yearly maximum between CHF 300 and CHF 2500) as well as a deductible of 10% of bills, up to a maximum of CHF 700 per year,
.
You seem to have a wealth of knowledge on this topic Glowjupiter. I've fortunately never needed much in the way of medical attention here, but I'd really like to understand: is it max 700 in deductibles for everyone? (e.g. regardless of tax bracket, level of insurance etc.?) My franchise is only 1000, which if I understand correctly, means the max I would pay is 1700 chf in case of something really catastrophic?
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Old 22.03.2015, 21:21
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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You seem to have a wealth of knowledge on this topic Glowjupiter. I've fortunately never needed much in the way of medical attention here, but I'd really like to understand: is it max 700 in deductibles for everyone? (e.g. regardless of tax bracket, level of insurance etc.?) My franchise is only 1000, which if I understand correctly, means the max I would pay is 1700 chf in case of something really catastrophic?
Yes, max retention fee (Selbstbehalt) is CHF 700, see my post right above yours. Your calculation is correct.

"02. How high is the minimum cost share?
The standard deductible amounts to CHF 300.- per calendar year and the maximum annual retention fee to CHF 700.- for an adult. In other words, for an insured person with an annual deductible of CHF 300.-, the maximum cost share is CHF 1000.- per calendar year. Children up to their 18th birthday do not pay a deductible and the maximum retention fee is CHF 350.-. However, the deductible can be increased voluntarily (see question 3)."
source

Last edited by glowjupiter; 22.03.2015 at 21:51. Reason: clarification
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Old 23.03.2015, 22:32
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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You should get a rough idea of costs as taking the minimum franchise may turn out to be a bad deal. A 2500 franchise saved 1700 last time I checked v 300 CHF so the only extra risk is 500 CHF with a large potential saving. I am always surprised how cheap medical cost are in CH, in 20 years of living in CH I paid 100% myself & never spent 1000 CHF.
fair point for the generally well...but I suspect at least a follow up CT or MRI will also be required by the oncologist.

But I'd like to thank you for your contribution to the health system....apologies on behalf of Mr HH who had surgery+hospital stay estimated at CHF 80k in his first year here...plus three weeks inpatient physical re-hab.

Yep...it was all covered by basic insurance, apart from CHF 1000 (300 deductible plus 700 co-pay)
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Old 24.03.2015, 00:44
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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fair point for the generally well...but I suspect at least a follow up CT or MRI will also be required by the oncologist.

But I'd like to thank you for your contribution to the health system....apologies on behalf of Mr HH who had surgery+hospital stay estimated at CHF 80k in his first year here...plus three weeks inpatient physical re-hab.

Yep...it was all covered by basic insurance, apart from CHF 1000 (300 deductible plus 700 co-pay)
What for? It may sound harsh (nothing against fatmanfilms here, who I'm sure is a nice person ), but that's what the Swiss healthcare system is - social. The healthy pay for the ill, the young pay for the old, the fit pay for the infirm. That's what I like about it - when ill I can count on being taken care of, while when healthy I know that my payments are contributing to someone else getting their health back.

"Das Bundesgesetz über die Krankenversicherung vom 18. März 1994 regelt die soziale Krankenversicherung (KV). Ihm liegt der Gedanke der Solidarität zwischen Gesunden und Kranken zu Grunde. Mittels einer obligatorischen Krankenpflegeversicherung (OKP) – auch Grundversicherung genannt – ist der gesamten Bevölkerung der Zugang zu einer qualitativ hochstehenden Gesundheitsversorgung zu gewährleisten."
source (text bolded by me)

In short, solidarity between the healthy and the ill is supposed to be the basis of the social health insurance act. Basic mandatory health insurance ensures that everyone has access to health services of high quality.

Also - this time quoting myself from another thread:
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In Switzerland, for basic insurance people who

- are with the same insurance company
- within the same age bracket
- have the same deductible
- have the same insurance model (HMO, basic, etc.)
- live in the same location
- are of the same sex

have identical premiums for basic insurance, as basic health insurance is based on a social model rather than a risk model. Meaning that everyone living in CH is covered and that people who fulfill the criteria above pay the same premiums no matter if they are healthy or deathly ill with cancer/MS/asthma etc.
Whereas in the risk model (basis of the supplementary health insurances) their covering you will depend on your state of health and you won't necessarily pay the same premium as someone with different illnesses living in your location/as old as you/of the same sex etc.

Last edited by glowjupiter; 24.03.2015 at 03:09. Reason: clarification
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Old 24.03.2015, 01:18
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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What for? It may sound harsh (nothing against fatmanfilms here, who I'm sure is a nice person ), but that's what the Swiss healthcare system is - social.
Alas, FMF and I long for the days when it was still optional.

(less than 20 years ago)

Tom
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Old 24.03.2015, 08:54
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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What for? It may sound harsh (nothing against fatmanfilms here, who I'm sure is a nice person ), but that's what the Swiss healthcare system is - social. The healthy pay for the ill, the young pay for the old, the fit pay for the infirm. That's what I like about it - when ill I can count on being taken care of, while when healthy I know that my payments are contributing to someone else getting their health back.


In short, solidarity between the healthy and the ill is supposed to be the basis of the social health insurance act. Basic mandatory health insurance ensures that everyone has access to health services of high quality.
I know....solidarity is what makes the system work. And very thankful I am for that. The apologies were a bit tongue in cheek...but nonetheless we are highly aware that Mr HH has got great value for contribution out of the Swiss health system. The model here somehow works sooooooo much better than in the UK, or even than in Luxembourg (another tax-wealthy country)
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Old 25.03.2015, 13:21
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

Hi! Not sure of this but I think you cannot immediately consult an oncologist at first. Even if you get free choice of practicers model. You should consult a generalist doctor. He would recommend you an oncologist. In my opinion even people who have the free choice of practicers insurance model cannot consult cardiologists or oncologists without be recommended by a generalist doctor. I repeat I am not 100% sure of this. But in fact you will almost immediately consult an oncologist.
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Old 25.03.2015, 15:05
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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Hi! Not sure of this but I think you cannot immediately consult an oncologist at first. Even if you get free choice of practicers model. You should consult a generalist doctor.
No, for breast cancer you first consult your gynecologist, who will then refer you to an oncologist.

Tom
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Old 25.03.2015, 15:19
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

Hmm didnt know it was a woman.
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Old 25.03.2015, 15:32
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

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I am getting married on July 16th to a swiss. He is going to ask his GP for a referral or recommendation for an oncologist. I have been planing my move to Zurich for almost a year and then got diagnosed with breast cancer last month so it has put a different spin on it. I really appreciate all of the information/links that you took the time to put in your post.
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Hmm didnt know it was a woman.
This post should have given you a clue.
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Old 25.03.2015, 17:59
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

Unless you have an HMO or GP model, you can consult an oncologist without referral. They may ask for a referral though...but that's more of a cultural thing than insurance. In the OP's case, she may have access to a GP via her husband before a gynecologist.


In Zurich, you might want to contact the brustzentrum - one stop shopping for breast disease.

To give you an idea of costs, a visit to my oncologist runs me about 200-300 chf including blood tests. My anti estrogen meds are about chf 400 for 100 (good for about 3 months), so a bit less than 1600 for the year. A visit to my gyne is about 200 chf, ultrsound adds anoyher 150-200, and mammmogram is about 200. I now see the oncologist yearly, the gyn every 6 months and mammography yearly. All of this is covered with basic coverage.

Your gyn will follow your mammography and scans, although an integrated place like the brustzentrum might do things differently.

I have a chf 300 deductible and then pay 10% of the next 7000. Some stuff isn't covered, like my flu shot (chf 25 or so).

I have only basic insurance and i've found my coverage and choice of providers to be excellent - perhaps easier in a large city like zurich.
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Last edited by edot; 25.03.2015 at 23:53.
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Old 15.04.2015, 02:27
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Re: Does basic insurance cover oncology?

Hello, thanks for all the information. I will arrive in late June. I am two weeks post op. My fiancé did ask his GP and was told that the University Hospital is a good place for cancer care. But Edot, I will check out Brust Zentrum as I know you have intimate knowledge of breast cancer. Thanks!
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