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Old 01.03.2019, 23:36
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new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

I've been offered a job near Zurich. The employer is saying they will pay for Half-Private healthcare (which is understand is 2 bed rooms in hospitals) for myself and my wife.

My wife is being treating in the UK under Private healthcare for Secondary Breast Cancer using Faslodex and Ibrance, with a UK based consultant.

Would she be able to stay with the same UK consultant and be able to get full treatment as a new resident in Switzerland ?

Do we have to pay anything for the drugs ? We currently pay the first £1k in a year, but all other costs are covered (spend is about £36k/year).

Any help/guidance would be much appreciated.
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Old 02.03.2019, 07:53
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

The employer might say one thing but the insurance covering pre-existing conditions is another. I'd check with the insurance first what is covered and what is not by explaining the situation and getting a reply in writing.
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Old 02.03.2019, 08:23
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

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I've been offered a job near Zurich. The employer is saying they will pay for Half-Private healthcare (which is understand is 2 bed rooms in hospitals) for myself and my wife.

My wife is being treating in the UK under Private healthcare for Secondary Breast Cancer using Faslodex and Ibrance, with a UK based consultant.

Would she be able to stay with the same UK consultant and be able to get full treatment as a new resident in Switzerland ?

Do we have to pay anything for the drugs ? We currently pay the first £1k in a year, but all other costs are covered (spend is about £36k/year).

Any help/guidance would be much appreciated.
David the above comment is correct you would need to check but healthcare here is split into basic, which is like the nhs and covers all conditions and the supplementary which is like bupa or private and may exclude preexisting conditions.

As long as your wife’s medicine is approved for use in Switzerland it would be covered under basic, where you have an excess similar to the uk then the rest is paid immaterial it cost. Any swiss healthcare provider (eg helsana) will be able to tell you whether those drugs are approved if you call their helpline.

However normally basic covers treatment in Switzerland, it is unlikely a UK consultant will be approved if the same type of specialist is available in Switzerland. If there is no possible alternative you might get somewhere but honestly it’s unlikely unless your wife’s illness is very specific to that doctor. This also includes semi private. I have been down the road with the companies here and quite fairly they say if you can get the treatment in Switzerland you should.

Hope this helps.
Good luck.
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Old 02.03.2019, 08:58
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

I moved to Switzerland with active cancer, health insurance has covered everything for my cancer treatment without any issue, I've had way more treatment costs than premium costs.

In Switzerland there tend to be more treatment options available as there are no NICE restrictions, I know Ibrance is commonly used here in Switzerland.

Yes there is an excess on the policy but I would guess it will be about the same as you have in the UK maybe more maybe less. Depending if your UK private insurance offers international cover, if it does you maybe able to use it to upgrade to a fully private room.

Personally based on my cancer treatment here over the past 8 years she will be in very good hands.

Just checked Faslodex is also used in Switzerland.

Last edited by Markarina; 02.03.2019 at 09:00. Reason: Faslodex
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Old 02.03.2019, 09:11
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

Something to consider is how long you are likely to be out of UK and whether you might want to (or are able to) continue your current private insurance while you are away. If you cancel now, it might not be possible for you to resume insurance for the pre-existing condition when you return to UK.
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Old 02.03.2019, 09:19
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

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Would she be able to stay with the same UK consultant and be able to get full treatment as a new resident in Switzerland ?
Very unlikely unless you are willing to cover the costs yourself.
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Old 02.03.2019, 10:44
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

The exception to the rule about pre-existing conditions denying supplemental (half private) coverage is that if employers cover the cost for a large group, even people with pre-existing conditions MAY be covered. You need to check - most likely the employer has a contract with a specific firm.

But for the basic, required insurance, no problem. I’d suggest a low franchise and free choice of doctors. You’ll pay about chf 1000 out of pocket each year for everything(drugs, doctors, scans, etc) , plus the cost of insurance (whatever your employer does not pay). I pay about chf 4800 a year for my insurance. Might be extras if you have half private.

If you have BUPA or something similar, you might want to keep it just in case, and definitely if your position here is temporary. Swiss insurance will almost certainly not pay for a UK consultant.

I’ve been treated for breast cancer here (in Bern), just early stage though. I have only basic, required insurance and my treatment has been excellent. You have a lot of choice. There’s a breast center in Zurich, as well as the university of ZŁrich. Both are quite good.

You’ll most likely need to switch to a Swiss team for care. Most docs speak excellent English, (research is all in English), there is participation in clinical trials. My docs did fellowships in the US.

My care in Switzerland is every bit as good as care I would have received in the US at a comprehensive center, minus the bullshit one has to deal with for approvals and mystery copayment. I thought it far more efficient than the US...i know it’s not the UK though.

More and more hospitals are eliminating their 3 or 4 patient bed rooms too.

If you need further info, please send me a private message. All the best to you and your wife. Hope she’s doing well.
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Old 02.03.2019, 10:48
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

David, lots of good advice up there.

For me, the main question is, does your wife really want to make this move- or will she just 'follow' you? If she wants to come, great. But at this time of her life, a big move away from family, friends and support network - is a big jump.

Bonne chance with your decision. x
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Old 02.03.2019, 14:22
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

Odile's point is very valid; when the rest of your world is going to shite, familiar surrounding are valuable. However I would also add if your main experience of health care is the UK, "you ain't seen nothing yet". Seriously, the standard of care on basic Swiss health insurance is by and large chalk and cheese to the UK, and as all care here is private, even the basic level of cover is likely to give your UK private a run for its money, I would think
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Old 02.03.2019, 15:50
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

I've been with a private health insurance for many years and never been a problem in keeping it when I've moved. When I lived in Switzerland I paid the basic and kept the private health insurance. They told me they cover me for treatment in a private room and will pay the difference between the basic and the private. Touch wood I've never needed it but check with your UK insurer as they may continue coverage.
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Old 02.03.2019, 18:32
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

David, your wife would be far better off here than in the UK for her treatment.
There a much wider range of cancer treatments available here.

You probably will not be able to secure private health insurance here without a "reserve" for her cancer (meaning she might not be covered for any pre-existing conditions or ongoing conditions due to her cancer) nevertheless the basic insurance (as edot mentioned) is already very good.


Kindly note that every person living in Switzerland has mandatory basic health insurance which allows them to access the cantonal hospitals and that these university hospitals are absolutely excellent.
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Old 03.03.2019, 09:40
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

I recall describing to my oncologist the radiotherapy my mother-in-law was getting in Southampton. He told me that the pressure for spaces in the UK was so intense that they took the total amount of radiation that would be given here over 8 weeks, and administer that over a week. Fewer sessions, higher doses ...

I think single rooms are overated. Iíve never heard of wards here, the vast majority of rooms would be doubles. When I was in for 8 days I was so bored in a single.

It is also a great way to improve your language skills; altough that language could be Greek, Spanish, Mandarin, Swahili, etc.

She will be taken good care of here.
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Old 03.03.2019, 10:17
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

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Kindly note that every person living in Switzerland has mandatory basic health insurance.
Actually, there are people who do not, mainly people here illegally.

Tom
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Old 03.03.2019, 10:34
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

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David, your wife would be far better off here than in the UK for her treatment.
There a much wider range of cancer treatments available here.
This is not the first time you’ve made a comment of this sort. Do you have any evidence to support such sweeping statements?

A Swiss GP told a friend of mine that Switzerland is not very good for cancer treatment and is behind other countries in many aspects of cancer treatment which seems to be totally at odds with what you are saying. She has since changed doctors as she wasn’t happy with her at all.

The NHS is by no means perfect and comes in for a lot of flack but there are excellent treatment centres for cancer there and highly skilled doctors offering groundbreaking treatments.

As with a lot of these things I think it also largely depends on where you are in the country, one often has to travel for the really specialist treatment

Last edited by Belgianmum; 03.03.2019 at 11:37.
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Old 03.03.2019, 11:08
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

Dare I mention the 'B' word?

If the UK leaves with No Deal, there is a big question mark on the availaibility of Isotopes for cancer treatment, and many of the drugs too. But of course, 26 days from D or rather B day ... nobody knows nuffink!
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Old 03.03.2019, 11:21
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

If the OP has private cover in the UK and no problem with getting meds then I‘m sure his wife has excellent care. And i know other patients who are very happy with the quality of their care. Like every other place, it varies.

I do hear from my acquaintances in the UK with secondary breast cancer that some of the availability and coverage of meds can be spotty. Moreover, doctors are not telling their early stage patients enough about the warning signs of metastatic (secondary) breast cancer, not nearly enough. But that may be the case here as well.

I‘m sure there is crap care in Switzerland too, and it depends on many factors. I would have to disagree that Switzerland is behind in care, it‘s not been my experience, nor that of most of my friends with cancer here, although my experience is limited to breast mostly. If i‘ve Learned anything in the last eight years it‘s that generalizing is a minefield.

It‘s why patients have to advocate for themselves. Which sucks when you feel like crap.
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Old 03.03.2019, 11:52
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

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If iĎve Learned anything in the last eight years itĎs that generalizing is a minefield.

.
It was the sweeping generalisation that I took exception to.

There is good and bad everywhere and to say that one place is far superior to another is just wrong.

I have had excellent care here in Switzerland (although not for cancer) but I have heard some horror stories from other people about care here.
Likewise for the UK, my motherís care was excellent but my father in lawís was abysmal.
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Old 03.03.2019, 12:09
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

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Switzerland is not very good for cancer treatment and is behind other countries in many aspects of cancer treatment
Rubbish.

Tom
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Old 03.03.2019, 12:11
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

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This is not the first time youíve made a comment of this sort. Do you have any evidence to support such sweeping statements?

The NHS is by no means perfect and comes in for a lot of flack but there are excellent treatment centres for cancer there and highly skilled doctors offering groundbreaking treatments.
My opinion is as good as yours, and both are worthless as everyone's story is different.
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Old 03.03.2019, 12:21
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Re: new Job, but Wife needs Cancer Treatment

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Rubbish.

Tom
Donít take part of a sentence and quote it out of context. That was not my opinion so donít try to imply that it was.

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My opinion is as good as yours, and both are worthless as everyone's story is different.
You didnít present it as an opinion, you presented it as a fact. That is what I took issue with.
Iím guessing that since you are now saying that it was only your opinion you donít have info on the wider range of cancer treatments available here? Thatís a shame as I would have been interested to know about them.
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