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Old 19.05.2017, 17:43
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Beware of Cigna!

I recently moved to Zurich with my husband and have been doing a lot of research into Health Insurance. I applied for Sanitas Basic and Supplemental (as we spend a fair amount of time in the US) and I was accepted for both but my husband was rejected for Supplemental - I assume because he is taking low dose meds for cholesterol and blood pressure. Sanitas did not specify and only wrote that he did not meet their profile risk for Supplemental insurance.

I saw an ad for Cigna International and thought I would give them a try. I thought I would caution those who contact Cigna as the agents use some high pressure sales tactics to sell their insurance. I am sure their product itself is very good EXCEPT that unless one applies for and is granted an exemption from the Gemeinde/canton, the Gemeinde may not recognise Cigna and in effect, make you take out a basic policy on top of the International/Worldwide insurance you have with Cigna (basically double insurance!)

The Cigna agent with whom I spoke, assured me that the exemption would be granted as a formality. I told him I would not sign on until I had the exemption in hand. Flash forward... and I submit the Exemption form and cover letter to the Gemeinde (my husband meets the criteria as he is 55 and can obtain better healthcare for his condition than what Sanitas offered (since we are in the US 4-6 weeks during the year).

The Gemeinde asked me to have Cigna sign and complete a form "H" which basically lists the services they would provide my husband (they would issue his insurance worldwide with no exclusions), fee choice of hospitals, doctors, prescription meds etc... The only problem is, when I asked Cigna to sign the form/declaration, they refused to do so. They said, via phone, they cannot sign anything until I pay for the insurance upfront (which I have no guarantee that the Gemeinde will recognise/approve). And so I am left in a Catch 22...

I wasted 4 weeks and a lot of time with a company (Cigna) who refused in the end to cooperate. I ended up taking Basic insurance with Sanitas for my husband and me and just obtained Allianz for private annual medical travel insurance when we travel overseas. Interesting in that I saved quite a bit on the Premium by going this route as well.

Wish I had known this information from the outset but wanted to caution those who may contemplate using Cigna going forward. Their product may be very good once approved but their service/help in terms of assisting in the approval process leaves a lot to be desired!
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Old 19.05.2017, 19:31
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

If you' asked here before you started your research you would have been told that very few non-Swiss insurances are accepted by the cantons here. Also that people with pre-existing conditions are unlikely to get supplementary cover, though they can't be refused for basic. The basic cover is very good and as you say you saved money by getting that and the travel insurance separately.
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Old 19.05.2017, 19:51
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

Thanks for your comment! As I wrote, I wasted too much time with an insurance company/agent who said they would assist me but did not do so in the end. Who knows, maybe if I purchased Cigna's insurance the Zurich canton would have granted the exemption but why take the risk?

At the end of the day, I paid a lot less for the basic coverage with a good company, Sanitas, and opted to go with the Allianz Private Medical Travel Insurance to meet our needs. It is a lesson for me and a win/win (despite the time wasted!)

Just wanted to give others a view as to my experience as there may be former expats here now on local packages...
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Old 20.05.2017, 08:11
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

While I appreciate you bringing out the formalities involved in taking international insurance providers, I feel Cigna is unnecessarily getting a bad rap here. I can understand why they will not sign something unless they have a contract with you.

Long back we were covered by Cigna and it was accepted by our Gemeinde (possibly because I was on an international contract). And I had very good experience with Cigna.
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Old 20.05.2017, 10:26
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

May I ask why it is necessary to get separate medical travel insurance? I understand that the basic enforced cover here covers international medical for non-optional things. Even if it's just to go to the doctor because you have the flu or some such. As long as you are 'sick' it is covered. Or so I understood from my insurance company when I talked to them.
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Old 20.05.2017, 10:29
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

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May I ask why it is necessary to get separate medical travel insurance? I understand that the basic enforced cover here covers international medical for non-optional things. Even if it's just to go to the doctor because you have the flu or some such. As long as you are 'sick' it is covered. Or so I understood from my insurance company when I talked to them.
Because your basic coverage may not cover everything in f.e. the US and youŽd end up with a huge bill
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Old 29.05.2017, 16:07
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

Interesting. I took out a Cigna International policy before our move to Zurich. The Cigna policy provides coverage worldwide including the US (up to 90 days stay in the States). We mailed in the 48 page document outlining the policy coverage to the local <insert long name office> for review. Our policy rejection letter came yesterday. The Cigna policy far exceeds the coverage of the basic Swiss policies I'm researching today, but it looks like we'll end up with both.

Sigh.
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Old 30.05.2017, 02:11
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

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Interesting. I took out a Cigna International policy before our move to Zurich. The Cigna policy provides coverage worldwide including the US (up to 90 days stay in the States). We mailed in the 48 page document outlining the policy coverage to the local <insert long name office> for review. Our policy rejection letter came yesterday. The Cigna policy far exceeds the coverage of the basic Swiss policies I'm researching today, but it looks like we'll end up with both.

Sigh.
Your situation is exactly what my husband and I feared most: Cigna used a high pressured sales pitch (on me at least) to get us to commit and said obtaining the exemption was a "no brainer" and easy to obtain but from what I have read, obtaining an exemption is subjective and depends upon the canton in question (notwithstanding the person in the Gemeinde processing the exemption). What I find interesting is that other reputable worldwide insurance carriers like Aetna International will not even give a quote for private worldwide health insurance to those "expats" living in Switzerland. I imagine that Aetna has experienced issues with clients who have purchased its cover for insurance and which later, the Gemeinde has rejected.

What is lousy for you is that now you will have to pay for basic insurance from a Swiss recognised company and yet you already have that coverage through Cigna. Ugh on all levels! In my view, Cigna needs to be more transparent; they cannot sell their product in a country and state that exemptions are easy to obtain when that is clearly not the case. This is why I wrote my email initially -namely to caution others from paying for a product which may not be recognised in Switzerland.

We ended up going with Sanitas for our basic insurance (they have a policy in english) and so far so good. I also took out an annual medical travel insurance policy with Allianz to cover us when we travel abroad (as we do so often). I wish you all the best with your Swiss medical research
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Old 30.05.2017, 07:15
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

MegsB all you can do is cancel the Cigna policy as soon as you're allowed to. Swiss health insurance will cover you well here and when travelling in the EU if you have an emergency and as terrifisch says getting an medical travel insurance policy if you go outside of the EU will be way cheaper is my guess.
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Old 30.05.2017, 09:54
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

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MegsB all you can do is cancel the Cigna policy as soon as you're allowed to. Swiss health insurance will cover you well here and when travelling in the EU if you have an emergency and as terrifisch says getting an medical travel insurance policy if you go outside of the EU will be way cheaper is my guess.
My plan is to get the highest deductible, lowest cost swiss plan that covers me in an emergency. I'll keep the Cigna as we travel constantly and get our yearly and routine health care and tests back in the States when we're visiting family.


Lessons learned, though, eh?
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Old 30.05.2017, 09:58
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Re: Beware of Cigna!

Sorry, meant to say finding a Swiss plan that covers the absolute basic requirements since Cigna still covers me in Switzerland.
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