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Old 17.10.2017, 00:32
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Hospital tried to rip us off!

I will share with you guys a recent experience that made me quite disappointed with a hospital to which I use to see with good eyes due to it excellent doctors and nurses and also because most of my kids where born there.

Last week a relative who lives overseas started to feel a terrible pain in the back, already imagining the diagnosis we decided to take this person to the hospital, not before contact the her insurance company abroad. The insurance company instructed us to go to this particular hospital, which is near to where I live and due to the obvious difference between costs in Switzerland and the country from my relative, they issued a warranty for this hospital.

As we arrived there and I explained the situation the nurse at reception wanted to register my relative as self payer, but I insisted that the insurance company had already paid for her attention, what was confirmed buy a fax they found there.

As the examinations moved on, came a woman on a black suit to talk with me and explained that despite the insurance had issued a warranty, they couldn't accept it and we should arrange a deposit of 25K CHF so the treatment could proceed, also my relative could only use private services, since according to this woman, only Swiss residents are entitled to the general award Services :S and my relative should deal with her insurance back in her home country to recover, ok if in Switzerland 25K is not a small amount, in her country it may pay half an apartment.

Long history short, I called the insurance of my relative which instructed us to do not pay anything, they didn't stop the treatment, but the pressure for the deposit was high wit any insistent discussions.

At the end we didn't pay anything and the insurance back on her homeland paid 2000 CHF for it instead of the 25K now she's good and recovering. But I have the feeling the Hospital just tried to rip us off, as under pressure with the big pain, someone that could have 25K available in the Credit Card would have accepted to pay it, even if it was a too high value.

Anyone had similar experiences? Does anyone have had a best experience with providing health to visitors from abroad, now I read about a product from Sanitas that maybe would at least provide a similar experience as like from a Krankenkasse to our visitors from far away.
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Old 17.10.2017, 00:50
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

If someone walked into my place and started waving CHF 25'000 around, I would be tempted to rip you off.

Why didn't you go to a local Swiss doctor? Hospitals here normally don't encourage walkins, they like recomended patients.
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Old 17.10.2017, 01:02
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

It was a strong pain at night, the only medication that worked was morphine and the only solution was a Chirurgie, so not sure if a doctor would have really helped here.
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Old 17.10.2017, 01:58
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

It is up to your insurance company to have proper procedures in place with the Swiss authorities to ensure you receive trouble free services. There is no reason why the Swiss hospital has to take on the risk of not getting paid. Find a more reliable insurer next time.
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Old 17.10.2017, 04:44
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

$2000,- for chirurgie in the hospital in Switzerland, sounds like a bargain to me.
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Old 17.10.2017, 06:58
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

Is it true that a non-resident patient cannot use the general ward and has to use private facilities?

Last edited by Wisconsinite; 17.10.2017 at 07:18.
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Old 17.10.2017, 07:23
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

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Is it true that a non-resident patient cannot use the general ward and has to use private facilities?
It depends on the insurance coverage they have arranged in their home country. My mum’s insurance from the UK, for example, would allow her to be treated here with something resembling the basic insurance coverage, includes accident as well as medical emergencies.
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Old 17.10.2017, 07:44
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

According to msolis, he was told by the hospital that non-residents have to pay for the private facilities as general ward is for swiss residents. I am not sure how that has anything to do with the insurance you have arranged for?

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It depends on the insurance coverage they have arranged in their home country. My mum’s insurance from the UK, for example, would allow her to be treated here with something resembling the basic insurance coverage, includes accident as well as medical emergencies.
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Old 17.10.2017, 07:51
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

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According to msolis, he was told by the hospital that non-residents have to pay for the private facilities as general ward is for swiss residents. I am not sure how that has anything to do with the insurance you have arranged for?
I can´t imagine that, sounds strange that only Swiss insured are allowed on the general ward.
My experience is as well that it depends on your insurance, if it is private, you will go to a private ward, if general then general.
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Old 17.10.2017, 08:02
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

Of course, if you are paying for a private insurance then you will normally go for a private ward. However, you can still go to the general ward (and some insurances pay you money if you choose to do that). Also, if you have a basic insurance, you have the choice to pay out of pocket and upgrade to private. This again all depends on availability.

But that is not the same as the hospital saying non-residents *have* to pay for the private ward. This is quite important for those of us who have non-resident guests visiting. It also doesn't make any sense to me and would like some clarification.
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Old 17.10.2017, 09:13
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

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Of course, if you are paying for a private insurance then you will normally go for a private ward. However, you can still go to the general ward (and some insurances pay you money if you choose to do that). Also, if you have a basic insurance, you have the choice to pay out of pocket and upgrade to private. This again all depends on availability.

But that is not the same as the hospital saying non-residents *have* to pay for the private ward. This is quite important for those of us who have non-resident guests visiting. It also doesn't make any sense to me and would like some clarification.
Travel and emergency care insurance from individuals' home countries most likely vary enormously, as does coverage for each individual depending on age, level of activities whilst here as well as pre-existing conditions. Your own guests are best to get the full story from their own insurance companies.

My mother's insurance when she comes here is tailored to her age and pre-existing conditions and would cover her for every emergency as well as if one of her current conditions flares up. It's pretty expensive but that's what you pay for peace of mind, plus it's much cheaper than her being clobbered with the costs of treatment if she wasn't insured.

However, she wouldn't be insured if she was sky-diving or skiing or rock-climbing because she didn't take out the extreme sports section of it, but then again, she's in her 70s so, like I said, insurances vary.
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Old 17.10.2017, 09:21
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

I would imagine that they weren't charging you 25k, but rather asking for it as a guarantee.

Tom
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Old 17.10.2017, 09:38
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

Sandgrounder, I understand what you are saying but you seem to not grasp my query which was specifically regarding what the original author said. The way it is phrased implies that the hospital made a blanket statement regarding general wards being available only to Swiss residents regardless of type of insurance. Can you please reread the original post?
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Old 17.10.2017, 09:40
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

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I would imagine that they weren't charging you 25k, but rather asking for it as a guarantee.

Tom
And if they had actually charged OP for that much, the balance of 23k would have been returned.
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Old 17.10.2017, 09:52
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

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Sandgrounder, I understand what you are saying but you seem to not grasp my query which was specifically regarding what the original author said. The way it is phrased implies that the hospital made a blanket statement regarding general wards being available only to Swiss residents regardless of type of insurance. Can you please reread the original post?
I fully grasped what you were saying, but the "implication" by the OP doesn't make it fact, does it? In my experience, we've had guests needing hospital treatment, once after a skiing accident and once when a child developed a severe vomiting bug. On neither occasion did the hospital make any comment about private or basic coverage for non-residents.

Without more information from the OP and his guest's insurance, it's impossible to know what prompted the hospital to make that distinction.

My first thought was that the OP's guests had been sold some kind of private insurance in their home country rather than the Swiss health system only treating non-residents as private patients, which is probably the least likely of the two scenarios.
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Old 17.10.2017, 10:03
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

That's perfect! I just wanted a clarification which you have provided now. Most likely there was a misunderstanding in this case.
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Old 17.10.2017, 10:22
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

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$2000,- for chirurgie in the hospital in Switzerland, sounds like a bargain to me.
Went to surgery for a broken finger, local anaesthesia, didnt stay overnight, 1500 chf, pretty standard, no bargain.
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Old 17.10.2017, 10:24
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

Hospitals may ask for a deposit from patients without Swiss health insurance.

For instance, see here, from the Unispital:
http://www.en.usz.ch/patients-visito...l-matters.aspx

Having foreign insurance does not necessarily mean that a deposit will not be required, I would guess much depends on the specifics of the insurance, the country where the patient is insured, and individual hospital policy.

Large deposits are not unheard of, as we found out with a relative who needed emergency care. We, the Swiss residents, also had to sign a guarantee.

As to the question of private or general ward, this should be discussed with the hospital, again I would suspect that policies vary, and vary depending on medical need.
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Old 17.10.2017, 10:28
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

Don't know how the prices compare to the home countries' insurances but for future reference, another possibility which would most likely give the most seamless coverage and peace of mind would be to insure your guests on your own health insurance.

It seems quite a few do it - here's the example from Helsana.

For the sake of an example I just ran my mum's details through it and it works out at a similar cost to what she's already paying. Might even insure her for accidents while rock climbing...
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Old 17.10.2017, 10:41
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Re: Hospital tried to rip us off!

it is smart not to sign anything commercial, consents are something else of course. You can tell them that you do not understand the documentation and refer them to your insurance. Correct me if I am wrong but they have to treat you when you have a valid insurance.
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