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Old 03.09.2014, 10:42
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First doctor appointment

I sorted out the health insurance (thanks to everyone who helped!)

What next??!!

I have the name of our family doctor here on some of the papers, no contact details though, am I supposed to look him up and find them myself? How do I make an appointment? Do I need to register first?

I really could do with seeing a doctor soon, 3 of us need prescriptions and my son needs a review for his glasses and patch therapy.

I tried to contact my personal consultant to ask about this but havent' been able to get hold of him; I don't know if he's the one to tell me what to do next anyway?! How much is insurance actually involved? Is it only for the bills?

What happens about paying for appointments and prescriptions and stuff? How does it all work?
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Old 03.09.2014, 10:50
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Re: First doctor appointment

Find your doctor's details here:


http://www.doktor.ch/allgemeinaerzte...rzte_k_sz.html


Find out if she's taking new patients. If so, book an appointment, but arrange to get there maybe 20 mins early to give you time to fill in the forms. There'll be a lot of German and the receptionist may or may not be able to help you, so you might want to take a friend.


You'll need evidence of your health insurance policy - either the policy certificate or policy card.


You'll be billed by pink slip, sometimes several weeks after the appointment. Depending on your insurer, you'll either pay it yourself and send the evidence of payment to the insurance company for reimbursement, or you'll send the bill straight on and the insurance company will charge you the excess. For enormous bills like hospital stays, the service provider will usually deal directly with the insurer.


Good luck!
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Old 03.09.2014, 11:08
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Re: First doctor appointment

What be said. You'll probably also find the doctor's details on the Swiss yellow pages.
www.local.ch.

For your first visit make sure you know all your family medical history ( any family illnesses including your parents etc) as they will want to know everything. If you have your GP notes from the UK that would be helpful but not essential.
As you require repeat prescription you'll need to have a physical appointment with the doctor and not just register with him/her. When you make the appointment tell them that they are the designated GP for your insurance.

As far as your son's eye problem is concerned he will have to go to an ophthalmologist here. You can book an appointment directly but be aware that it can take a while to get an appointment and many are not taking new patients or you can ask your GP for a recommendation.

It can also take a very long time to receive a bill. Sometimes almost a year later in the case if our GP but it doesn't matter because you're allowed quite a long time to send it to the insurer for reimbursement. ( 3 years I think)
Often you'll receive two copies of the bill, one for you and one for the insurance. Most non hospital bills you have to pay yourself and claim back from the insurer but this varies depending on the insurance company and also possibly the doctor.
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Old 03.09.2014, 11:11
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Re: First doctor appointment

You can use the link above to find the contact details of the doctor. You need to make the doctor aware that he/she is your house doctor. What we did was to take an appointment with the doctor. when you take an appointment, the receptionist will ask you for what you need to meet the doctor. If the receptionist feels that you dont have to meet the doctor but just fill some forms, its fine. Just go over and fill all forms. Filling out the forms takes some time since you need to fill a form each for every family member. Take a copy of the insurance.

The insurance company was never involved in any of these. some insurance companies require that you make a claim after the doctor charges you a fee. In that case, you pay the doctor's fee and then you send the bill to the insurance company and they reimburse it. In our case, the doctor sends the bills to the insurance company and the company makes the payment. whatever is the deductible, only that comes to us.
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Old 03.09.2014, 11:26
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Re: First doctor appointment

I have read as much information about how the health insurance works, and I am still confused. Once you sign up, are you responsible for the first X CHF until you reach the deductible? For example, with a 2500 CHF deductible, are you responsible for 100% of doctor visits and prescriptions until you reach the 2500 CHF? Or does the insurance pay for some fraction of that?

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Old 03.09.2014, 11:30
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Re: First doctor appointment

Recently took my 2 sons for a first visit to their new dr and, I admit both of them do have health issues (one minor one more major) so the doctor allowed 1.5 hours for the first visit and general check up, but even he was surprised when we finally broke for lunch 3 hours later!!!

Be prepared. Perhaps a thermos and some sandwiches. They are nothing if not thorough!
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Old 03.09.2014, 11:38
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Re: First doctor appointment

Probably it would have been good to check the doctor was available first, before having them named on the insurance? Anyway, assuming they are, go there and register, make an appointment, introduce yourself.

Some doctors bill you and you claim back from insurance, some bill the insurer and they bill you.. Usually prescriptions are 'paid' using the insurance card and again, the insurer sends a bill. But basically you pay everything until the deductible is reached then you pay 10%. You will almost never have to actually pay on the day though, a bill will come, eventually.

Go try it and see how it works for you, if you ask 10 people about how the doctor works you can easily get 10 different correct answers.
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Old 03.09.2014, 11:57
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Re: First doctor appointment

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Probably it would have been good to check the doctor was available first, before having them named on the insurance? .
As far as I am aware the doctor has to agree to be the designated doctor before the insurance is approved. That was the case when we got our insurance initially on moving here. Insurance was organised via OH's company,

In fact we were assigned a doctor by the insurance but quickly changed it as whilst it was very convenient for OH's office it would have been a PITA to go to from where we live.
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Old 03.09.2014, 12:19
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Re: First doctor appointment

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As far as I am aware the doctor has to agree to be the designated doctor before the insurance is approved. That was the case when we got our insurance initially on moving here. Insurance was organised via OH's company,

In fact we were assigned a doctor by the insurance but quickly changed it as whilst it was very convenient for OH's office it would have been a PITA to go to from where we live.
Ahh we sort of did it around the other way. We had a doctor recommendation before we started with the insurance, we checked she was available, then checked the insurance list, then chose that type of cover. If she wasn't on the list we may have taken the 'any doctor' plan.
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Old 03.09.2014, 13:26
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Re: First doctor appointment

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As far as I am aware the doctor has to agree to be the designated doctor before the insurance is approved. That was the case when we got our insurance initially on moving here. Insurance was organised via OH's company,

In fact we were assigned a doctor by the insurance but quickly changed it as whilst it was very convenient for OH's office it would have been a PITA to go to from where we live.
We didn't have to tell our insurance who our dr. was. In fact, I only got one when I tore my MCL in Feb, we had moved here the previous August. So, it is all different
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Old 03.09.2014, 13:36
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Re: First doctor appointment

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I have read as much information about how the health insurance works, and I am still confused. Once you sign up, are you responsible for the first X CHF until you reach the deductible? For example, with a 2500 CHF deductible, are you responsible for 100% of doctor visits and prescriptions until you reach the 2500 CHF? Or does the insurance pay for some fraction of that?
The first. With a 2500 deductible you pay 100% of any expense until it adds up to 2500. Above that the insurance starts to pay 90%, and you pay 10%. When you end up paying 700CHF on top of those 2500 (i.e. you got further costs of 7000CHF), then the insurance starts paying at 100%.

Note that even if you pay yourself at 100%, you are still better to send the bills to the insurer so that they add up your expenses, just in case you need to spend more later in the year.
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Old 03.09.2014, 13:41
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Re: First doctor appointment

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I have read as much information about how the health insurance works, and I am still confused. Once you sign up, are you responsible for the first X CHF until you reach the deductible? For example, with a 2500 CHF deductible, are you responsible for 100% of doctor visits and prescriptions until you reach the 2500 CHF? Or does the insurance pay for some fraction of that?
For your son, you will pay 10% for any doctor's visits, prescriptions etc. And I believe for the eyeglasses you are covered up to a certain amount for children (180 francs maybe)? They keep changing the laws on eyeglasses for children. Wherever you buy the eyeglasses from, they will know and give you all the papers to send to the insurance.
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Old 03.09.2014, 13:44
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Re: First doctor appointment

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We didn't have to tell our insurance who our dr. was. In fact, I only got one when I tore my MCL in Feb, we had moved here the previous August. So, it is all different
It depends on the cover you choose and PixieB went for the GP model so that means they have to choose a GP from the list provided by their insurer.

It depends on the insurance model you choose, we don't have to tell them either because we don't have the GP model and I don't use the same one as my husband.
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Old 03.09.2014, 14:22
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Re: First doctor appointment

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It depends on the cover you choose and PixieB went for the GP model so that means they have to choose a GP from the list provided by their insurer.

It depends on the insurance model you choose, we don't have to tell them either because we don't have the GP model and I don't use the same one as my husband.
Thanks, as ever, for the helpful clarification! Our insurance is offered through OH's work so we just had to choose level of franchise and if we wanted additional semi-private or private. Interesting to hear all the different choices, and makes me glad I didn't have to navigate it all - jeez, totally overwhelming!
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Old 03.09.2014, 15:15
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Re: First doctor appointment

If in doubt, ask the doctor's office what their payment policy/structure is when you book the appointment. Our doctor has an agreement with our insurance to bill directly...BUT...the very first appointment we had to pay in cash.
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Old 03.09.2014, 15:42
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Re: First doctor appointment

Pixie, this may seem obvious, but... have you verified that the doctor you have chosen is indeed willing to conduct a consultation in English? It is not uncommon that doctors out our way will list English among their skills but are actually only willing to consult in German.

When you make your appointment, make it clear that you need to be able to speak with the doctor in English.

(It is likely that the registration form will be in German, so make sure you understand the typical terms before you go for that initial appointment. Name, address, civil status, employment, type of insurance, etc.)
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Old 03.09.2014, 16:41
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Re: First doctor appointment

Another thing:

At your first appointment, be sure to ask about the procedure for after hours emergencies or after hours acute but non-emergent illnesses - these differ from place to place and from practice to practice.

Some doctors from different practices group together to organize an after-hours on-call rota, meaning if you have an emergency after practice hours you will get a message on the answering machine or from an answering service telling you who has call that day. It maybe your doctor, maybe another in a different practice in town, maybe a doctor in another town.

Or, you might find that there is no after-hours coverage, and you are SOL if you need medical attention outside of office hours. (Which is what happens in our town. One is expected to plan life-threatening emergencies three weeks in advance. )

In any event, we all know that emergencies (or acute but non-emergent illness needing timely treatment) rarely happen M-F, 9-5, so it's important that you understand the correct procedure for your doctor's practice.


Since you are in Lachen, there is the local hospital - but make sure you understand how your insurance covers use of the ER.
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Old 03.09.2014, 17:25
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Re: First doctor appointment

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Recently took my 2 sons for a first visit to their new dr and, I admit both of them do have health issues (one minor one more major) so the doctor allowed 1.5 hours for the first visit and general check up, but even he was surprised when we finally broke for lunch 3 hours later!!!

Be prepared. Perhaps a thermos and some sandwiches. They are nothing if not thorough!
Wow! that's thorough!

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Probably it would have been good to check the doctor was available first, before having them named on the insurance? Anyway, assuming they are, go there and register, make an appointment, introduce yourself.

Some doctors bill you and you claim back from insurance, some bill the insurer and they bill you.. Usually prescriptions are 'paid' using the insurance card and again, the insurer sends a bill. But basically you pay everything until the deductible is reached then you pay 10%. You will almost never have to actually pay on the day though, a bill will come, eventually.

Go try it and see how it works for you, if you ask 10 people about how the doctor works you can easily get 10 different correct answers.
We didn't pick him, the insurance did it for us, so I'm assuming they checked!

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Pixie, this may seem obvious, but... have you verified that the doctor you have chosen is indeed willing to conduct a consultation in English? It is not uncommon that doctors out our way will list English among their skills but are actually only willing to consult in German.

When you make your appointment, make it clear that you need to be able to speak with the doctor in English.

(It is likely that the registration form will be in German, so make sure you understand the typical terms before you go for that initial appointment. Name, address, civil status, employment, type of insurance, etc.)
I haven't, again I'm assuming the insurance sorted it The papers are all in English, the consultant speaks English and they are affiliated with my husband's work which is an international company; and since they chose the doctor I am assuming that they chose an English-speaking one for us! If they don't we'll just have to manage with my dreadful German and my translate app on my phone for the first year or whatever!
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Old 03.09.2014, 17:46
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Re: First doctor appointment

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so I'm assuming they checked!
Pixie, seriously - do not assume anything.

(The most incompetent global relocation consultants I have ever met are affiliated with one of the largest companies in Switzerland. They screw up (and screw over) expat families all the time.)

Call the doctor's practice yourself, make an introductory appointment, ask all these questions.
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Old 03.09.2014, 18:13
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Re: First doctor appointment

Ok, I will; thanks!

Prescriptions- my deductible is pretty high, so I'll probably be paying for most of my prescriptions.. if an item is listed on prescription is it cheaper than buying it over the counter, generally? OTC is pretty pricey here as I've already discovered But if I got a prescription for something I could just buy OTC would it save anything? Or would the doc's appointment to obtain the scrip just offset it
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