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Old 14.08.2014, 20:26
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Health insurance after 3 months

Hello all,

I arrived in Switzerland on 29/7 to start my postdoc job. Due to my work, I will only stay in Switzerland for 4 weeks, then will go to the US to work abroad there until January 2015 when I will move back. That means, from next weekend until next year, I will not be in Switzerland. I'm waiting for my residence permit.

As I have my health insurance in the US, I've been looking for a Swiss health insurance as cheap as possible solely for compliance with the law, because I won't use it for the next 4 months anyway. I was about to buy the cheapest insurance when I decided to see an agent of another company (whom I will not name, it is more expensive but among the best rated on comparis). After hearing my story, to my great surprise, he suggested me the following to save big money on insurance:
  1. If I buy insurance now, it'll be retractive and I must pay from July 1st.
  2. However, if I don't buy it now, I will occasionally receive reminder mails from the Controle des habitants, to which I should reply that I am still looking for insurance. After the 3-month mark (i.e. end of October), by law I must have health insurance, so I should buy one at that time. However, he said, after the 3-month mark, my insurance plan will not be retractive, and it will start from the day I sign it (i.e. November 1st). That means I can save 4 months of insurance premium. He also said many people did this if they had other insurance to cover those 3 months, especially those from other EU countries.
I was very surprised because I thought insurance agents always pushed you to buy insurance (my experience in the US).


My questions:
  1. Is what he suggested legitimate? Though I want to save money, I don't want to jeopardize my job and my residency in Switzerland.
  2. Has anyone, or anyone you know, done this before?
  3. Is there any catch that I should know of?
Thanks!!!
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Old 14.08.2014, 20:40
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Re: Health insurance after 3 months

If you're a resident here, insurance from other countries which you may have had won't cover you. So your US insurance won't cover you and you won't have Swiss cover either should something happen.

If you don't present proof to your commune/gemeinde of Swiss insurance cover by the time the 3 months are up, you'll automatically be put on their default insurance cover which may be more expensive and could mean you end up paying for two if you try the trick he suggests. You would also have the hassle of trying to cancel one or the other because usually you can only change/cancel a policy once a year in November.

By waiting for your residence permit do you mean you're waiting for it to be issued or you're waiting for it to be approved? Because if it's the latter then you can't work until you've had approval from the Swiss authorities.
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Old 14.08.2014, 20:58
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By waiting for your residence permit do you mean you're waiting for it to be issued or you're waiting for it to be approved? Because if it's the latter then you can't work until you've had approval from the Swiss authorities.
I'm waiting for it to be issued. I already started my job here. As I mentioned, I will be sent to do my (Swiss) job in the US for the next 4 months, and already have my US insurance.

As I won't be in Switzerland during those 4 months, I only need Swiss insurance to comply with the law, not for actual use. I'm not worried about health issues because currently I have a travel health insurance, and next week I have my US insurance when I come there.

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If you don't present proof to your commune/gemeinde of Swiss insurance cover by the time the 3 months are up, you'll automatically be put on their default insurance cover which may be more expensive and could mean you end up paying for two if you try the trick he suggests. You would also have the hassle of trying to cancel one or the other because usually you can only change/cancel a policy once a year in November.
This is exactly what I want to ask. Is what he suggested legitimate? And will I be assigned a default insurance immediately at the 3-month after my arrival? If that's the case then I guess you are right, I may end up having to pay for 2 insurance plans.

I forgot to mention that my US insurance is not global, so I can't use it to satisfy the requirements in Switzerland.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 15.08.2014 at 00:04. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 14.08.2014, 21:15
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Re: Health insurance after 3 months

The point is that as a resident here who's working, so not a tourist, your travel insurance does not cover you.

I don't know if it's legitimate or not. It's the first time I've heard of such an idea. By the way, the end of your 3 months would be end of September, not October: 1st July to 30th September. This insurance agent may be thinking you wouldn't have to pay for the 3 months as policies can be changed in November so it might be seen as a new policy in that sense. But the timing would be out because of your arrival in July.

How soon the commune/gemeinde puts you on their policy will be up to them. Personally I wouldn't want to risk it and would get my insurance sorted out before I go.
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Old 15.08.2014, 08:30
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Re: Health insurance after 3 months

Thanks Medea Fleecestealer! Yes, I'd not want to risk it.

I was surprised when an insurance agent suggested me such a trick to save insurance payment, contrary to my experience in other countries (the US and my home country).
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Old 20.08.2014, 00:08
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Re: Health insurance after 3 months

The OP has raised a good point.
Personally, I'm on a similar situation. My travel insurance, which came along with me buying the place ticket with the Visa credit card, will end after 60 days of stay in CH. But I'll be here for another 30 days, so I need to get myself and my family insurance for September.
I looked onto Comparis insurance categories, and could not find "travel insurance". Then I remembered that I registered with the Gemeinde, so I couldn't be "travelling". So my questions are: 1) just to confirm, what I need to get is the Krankenkasse, right? 2) It looks and feels like a yearly contract... Can I get it for just one month?
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Old 20.08.2014, 00:31
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Re: Health insurance after 3 months

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The OP has raised a good point.
Personally, I'm on a similar situation. My travel insurance, which came along with me buying the place ticket with the Visa credit card, will end after 60 days of stay in CH. But I'll be here for another 30 days, so I need to get myself and my family insurance for September.
I looked onto Comparis insurance categories, and could not find "travel insurance". Then I remembered that I registered with the Gemeinde, so I couldn't be "travelling". So my questions are: 1) just to confirm, what I need to get is the Krankenkasse, right? 2) It looks and feels like a yearly contract... Can I get it for just one month?
It is a yearly contract, but if you de-register and leave Switzerland you can cancel it. You won't get away with only one month though, even if you sign up after being here for 2 months, they back date it to the day you arrived. You'll also need to add accident insurance (unfallversicherung) to the Krankenkasse if you are not covered by your employer.
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Old 20.08.2014, 08:17
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Re: Health insurance after 3 months

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The OP has raised a good point.
Personally, I'm on a similar situation. My travel insurance, which came along with me buying the place ticket with the Visa credit card, will end after 60 days of stay in CH. But I'll be here for another 30 days, so I need to get myself and my family insurance for September.
I looked onto Comparis insurance categories, and could not find "travel insurance". Then I remembered that I registered with the Gemeinde, so I couldn't be "travelling". So my questions are: 1) just to confirm, what I need to get is the Krankenkasse, right? 2) It looks and feels like a yearly contract... Can I get it for just one month?
If you're here as a tourist why did you register at the gemeinde? And how did you manage to do so without having a job here?

Next time make sure your travel insurance covers you for the duration of your holiday. It's probably going to cost you a fortune to get the Swiss health insurance for all of you as it's backdated to your arrival date as Island Monkey said.
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