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Old 11.01.2018, 14:31
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Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

Hello,

This year, my husband and I decided that we would like to apply for supplementary health insurance...mainly to have the option to choose a private hospital if we would want to. We applied through our existing carer (Sympany), and were rejected.

We are fairly young (37 & 38) and healthy, however in the most recent years there were some minor health scares. I had easily treatable cervical cancer and my husband has had the same existing yet stable condition since he was a teenager.

Will we ever get approved? Doesn't seem realistic that you must have zero past or present health conditions in order to get accepted. I even chose the highest deductible.

Any advice is appreciated, thank-you.
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Old 11.01.2018, 15:05
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

Try Swica, my wife was approved no problem (never having had it before).

Tom
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Old 11.01.2018, 15:11
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

I can't speculate on whether or not you'd ever be approved by another insurer, other than to say that many, perhaps most, use pre-existing conditions as a rejection.

You could look into whether you might be able to get supplementary insurance with exclusions, that is, coverage that excludes known pre-existing conditions but covers others.

Another option you might look into is a 'flex' policy, one where for an additional premium and a per-hospitalization fee you then have the option to choose semi- or private treatment on a per hospitalization admission basis. I would imagine that such a policy upgrade might have pre-existing condition exclusions, but it would be worth looking into. Also, balance the cost. IIRC when I looked into the cost of a flex plan some years ago it was something like CHF 70 per month additional premium, but also a fairly hefty per hospital admission cost.

---

What drives your wish to be treated at a private hospital? Is it the quality of medical care, or the standard of accommodation?

If the latter, be aware that many (public and private) hospitals will have the option to upgrade from the general ward covered under basic insurance to either a double or single room on the general ward floor or to a double or single room in the private wing. There is generally a per night cost for this upgrade, and it is generally subject to availability. To give you an idea of the price, at a small local hospital the cost of an upgrade to a single room was CHF 200 per night on the general ward floor and CHF 400 per night on the private floor.

If you cannot get supplementary insurance, you might consider this option when a hospital stay is imminent. Often this can be a fairly cost effective measure.

I understand wanting better access to care. This has been a road block for me, especially as I live in an area underserved by medical specialists. Sometimes one can get around this if one's GP goes to bat for you, some specialists who normaly restrict their practice to semi- or private patients will see a basic patient as a professional favor. So don't be afraid to ask your GP for help if you are finding access to specialists difficult.

Another thing to look into - where do the more respected specialists who would treat your condition practice? Sometimes the private hospitals aren't always the best place to be treated. For instance, look where cutting edge research is done - generally the public university hospitals.

My plan: I don't qualify for private insurance. So the money I don't spend in those premiums - which is a lot - gets tucked away to use if I ever have to go outside the Swiss insurance system, paying the medical portion out of pocket, in order to access appropriate care. Hopefully the need won't arise, but I'm prepared to do so if needed.

---

Before giving up on private insurance, you might contact EF member 'Jenny', an independent insurance agent, for advice. She would know better than any of us lay folks what your chances of qualifying are.
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Old 11.01.2018, 15:18
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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If the latter, be aware that many (public and private) hospitals will have the option to upgrade from the general ward covered under basic insurance to either a double or single room on the general ward floor or to a double or single room in the private wing. There is generally a per night cost for this upgrade, and it is generally subject to availability. To give you an idea of the price, at a small local hospital the cost of an upgrade to a single room was CHF 200 per night on the general ward floor and CHF 400 per night on the private floor.
+1 on that. I was also refused supplementary health insurance. When I had to have an operation I just opted for the upgrade. In the end that was lots cheaper than having paid for the extra insurance.

Of course that is only a reason if you only want the extra insurance for hospital visits. I have been very happy with my doctors so far with just basic insurance.
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Old 11.01.2018, 15:37
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

What Meloncollie said.

I was not approved for supplimentary either....supplimentary insurance is where insurers make money so they really want low risk, healthy people.

If you have supplimentary insurance you do have a nicer room and better food, and you might have better rehab facilities. But, you’re likely to have the same standard of care (at least I have). Outpatient stuff will be pretty much the same.

I’m having a knee replaced in February, in Winterthur. My surgeon is the chief of the service. I have not decided if I want a better room....I could pay out of pocket for that. Being in a room with 3 other people is not appealing but for 3-4 nights, I can deal as long as I have pain meds. If I had to go to rehab, i would pay extra for that, but I‘m probably coming home.

I was treated for breast cancer here in 2011. one night in the hospital, one other person in the 4 person room. But what was important, my doctor was great, she referred me to a great oncologist, and the radiology was also excellent - because it was outpatient, the treatment was indistinguishable from a private patient.

Where it might make a difference is childbirth, but plenty of people just pay extra for private/semi private.

Not having supplimental may restrict you from certain hpspitals, and you‘re more likely to be in the kantonal hospitals.

I‘ve not used psychiatric care here ... not sure if that‘s better with supplimental.


But certainly apply with other companies. Also consider putting aside the money you save by not having supplimental and using it to pay out of pocket for any additional expenses.
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Old 11.01.2018, 15:54
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

In my failed attempt at aggressive salary negotiations, my employer enthusiastically said they would pay for supplementary insurance: This would be a great advantage and benefit not available to most! Of course, just to favor a much smaller salary.


Of course, when it came time to start, the insurance company requested a whole lot of medical requirements or tests, which would cost me a small fortune, so in the end, they couldn't give me the supplementary coverage.


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Old 11.01.2018, 16:11
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

When we arrived 5 years ago.
Our insurer asked us if we had private health cover in the UK. Yes i told them.

In that case automatic acceptance, no medical or even medical questions.

I asked if they needed some kind of records or evidence of the UK private health care cover. Nope, they didn't care. We have pretty extensive cover and it really doesn't cost much in the scheme of the total.

So head to the UK and sign up to bupa for a month .. or just say that you did
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Old 11.01.2018, 16:17
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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+1 on that. I was also refused supplementary health insurance. When I had to have an operation I just opted for the upgrade. In the end that was lots cheaper than having paid for the extra insurance.

Of course that is only a reason if you only want the extra insurance for hospital visits. I have been very happy with my doctors so far with just basic insurance.
+2 on that.

I paid extortionate amounts on private health care over about 2 decades here.

Saw the futility in this, as the only time that I benefited was getting a "nice room" after my daughter was born, and then a complex leg break (which was anyway privately covered by my accident insurance from work).

I notice that the care has always been the same as the basic insurance that I now have since a few years, also with the option to increase case by case if I want.

Have been through the system a few times in the past half-year for various stuff, and can say that with a good GP you are in good hands to be referred to excellent care.

I personally regret having spent all that money over the decades on private coverage.
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Old 11.01.2018, 16:18
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

Thank-you to all, especially meloncollie for your informative responses.

The reason why we wanted supplementary cover is mainly because of my cancer experience. My Dr. would only perform operations at a private hospital, therefore we had to spend quite a bit of money in order to have her complete the surgery. I would have been happy to have the operation anywhere as long as she was my Dr.. The hospital was in Zurich and similar to staying in a 5-star hotel. Not a requirement at all, but it did provide quite a bit of comfort during a otherwise stressful time. I remember laughing often during my hospital stay as it was nothing like I had ever experienced in my life coming from the US health system. Should anything return, it would be nice to know I could have the option to return to a familiar place with a Dr. I trust. I would also want my husband to have the same.

I guess we just need to continue to save money for the rainy days. It's nice to know that if you do have the cash, private care is an option. It would not be this way in the US. I am still lost with the insurance system here and will perhaps reach out to the person recommended for further assistance as I think it's important to finally get this down.

Thank-you again!
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Old 11.01.2018, 21:17
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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When we arrived 5 years ago.
Our insurer asked us if we had private health cover in the UK. Yes i told them.

In that case automatic acceptance, no medical or even medical questions.
Would you mind telling us which insurer that was? We are currently with BUPA for international medical (through former employer) and want to get supplementary cover to top up our Swiss Basic insurance....but keep hitting the "pre-existings" issue.

PM if you prefer not to tell the world
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Old 11.01.2018, 21:35
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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Would you mind telling us which insurer that was? We are currently with BUPA for international medical (through former employer) and want to get supplementary cover to top up our Swiss Basic insurance....but keep hitting the "pre-existings" issue.

PM if you prefer not to tell the world
The insurer is Helsana.. It was all done via a broker called Symphony . (broker does all the insurance stuff for my employer)

Not sure which one would be best to contact.
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Old 11.01.2018, 21:41
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

After years of research, it seems the only people with pre-existing conditions who can get supplementary insurance is indeed through the broker and large lucrative company contracts. For us ordinary minions- it just does not work.
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Old 13.01.2018, 10:51
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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The reason why we wanted supplementary cover is mainly because of my cancer experience. My Dr. would only perform operations at a private hospital, therefore we had to spend quite a bit of money in order to have her complete the surgery. I would have been happy to have the operation anywhere as long as she was my Dr..
Perhaps you could contact the oncologist who treated you last time. A long shot, but since you were previously her patient she might consider taking you on even with only basic insurance.

Or who knows, maybe she is now practicing at other hospitals - doctors move about all the time here.

Or she might be able to refer you to a trusted colleague who practices at a hospital accepting basic patients. A referral from an oncologist you know would be even better than a referral from a GP.

Again, wishing you all the best.
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Old 13.01.2018, 11:46
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

I do know of one guy who managed to get supplementary insurance, so long as the claim was not related to the listed pre-existing issues. He got it through a broker on a private basis. I'm afraid it was over ten years ago, and the broker is retired and the chap has left the country. But apparently it can be done if you know the right people to talk to. (Perhaps those folk who call up on a regularl basis...)
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Old 13.01.2018, 12:39
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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After years of research, it seems the only people with pre-existing conditions who can get supplementary insurance is indeed through the broker and large lucrative company contracts. For us ordinary minions- it just does not work.
My wife got it no problem, no broker, no company contrat.

Tom
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Old 13.01.2018, 12:45
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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My wife got it no problem, no broker, no company contrat.

Tom
So did I.
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Old 13.01.2018, 12:53
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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My wife got it no problem, no broker, no company contrat.

Tom
Does she have pre-existing conditions which are likely to be expensive though?

BM, did you use the same company as your OH?

We discussed this at Christmas with my niece who is a Senior adviser for one of the big companies with 30+ years experience. She tried to get up complemetary insurance herself- but at the end of the day, they run a business, not a charity. Our age also came into play, as well as quite severe pre existing conditions, especially so for OH.

Meloncollie's post is interesting. Many specialists work for private companies, but still see patients who do not have complimentary insurance.
When I first went to see the orthopedic surgeon for my knee replacement- I had no idea he worked privately only. When I booked the operation, he told me the name of the Hospital, and I said 'no can do- I do not have supplementary insurance'. He said 'no worries' - so had the op in private clinic, with private room- on the north side, with WC but no private shower, and simple room, no tv- compared to South Wing- with all mod cons- neither of which mattered to me. Having second knee done early March- same conditions.
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Old 13.01.2018, 12:55
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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Does she have pre-existing conditions which are likely to be expensive though?

BM, did you use the same company as your OH?
We changed companies, and she was on AI for a few years in the past, so I would guess that that counts as having a pre-existing condition?

Tom
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Old 13.01.2018, 13:06
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

In which case, she was very lucky indeed.

I suppose it also depends on age, type of pre-existing conditions and if permanent or totally solved, and other factors too (weight, smoking or not, etc).
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Old 13.01.2018, 13:13
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Re: Will I ever be approved for supplementary health insurance?

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BM, did you use the same company as your OH?
No I didn't.
The insurance used by OH's company wanted to exclude things so I found a different insurer. I had to get a letter from the specialist in Belgium giving details of the treatment etc. but they accepted me without any exclusions at all ( with exception of dental which I decided not to take as they would have excluded the only things that I would have needed expensive treatment for).

We have the same insurer now but it is not the company one.
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