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Old 27.02.2018, 14:54
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Assura - simply NEVER

I know I am behind the trend, and more and more people talk about how bad Assura is. Still wanted to tell anyone who may be considering them: stop now!


I got ensured with them when fresh in Switzerland, young, healthy and unburdened with kids in 2011. All was ok, as I was paying the bills and claimed nothing. With kids, i was too busy to look around and just got them the same. And then switched our complementary insurance to Assura in 2015. We ended up paying the full package for 4 people, with basic (highest franchise) and a full complementary package, for over 10K a year.


When things started to happen, especially some various accidents with the kids, things got ugly. We were refused reimbursement for various things, due to some small print in the general conditions. The staff are like robots (maybe they are...), both online and on the phone, just repeating the same phrases and never really helping to find a solution. Never telling you in advance what would be and what would not be reimbursed: "make a claim and we will see". I could go on forever. And we are stuck with them until end of 2020, as they very sneakily never increase their complementary insurance premiums (they don't reimburse anything and don't provide any service to complementary insurance holders, so their margin is already 100%, why increase?).


In short, if you care for your kids' health (and your mental health as well), NEVER use Assura. And DON'T buy complementary insurance with them: they will not treat you in any way different, and will always find a way not to pay you.


Look around! I started just this afternoon, after the latest upsetting call with them which concluded with me needing to look for a dental trauma treatment for my 3 year old outside of our canton of residence, and to pay for it myself (and I have complementary dental insurance, of course...). There are many options out there, and I hope you can recommend me something.


A very sad Mom
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Old 27.02.2018, 15:26
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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When things started to happen, especially some various accidents with the kids, things got ugly. We were refused reimbursement for various things, due to some small print in the general conditions. The staff are like robots (maybe they are...), both online and on the phone, just repeating the same phrases and never really helping to find a solution. Never telling you in advance what would be and what would not be reimbursed: "make a claim and we will see". I could go on forever. And we are stuck with them until end of 2020, as they very sneakily never increase their complementary insurance premiums (they don't reimburse anything and don't provide any service to complementary insurance holders, so their margin is already 100%, why increase?).
What sort of stuff don't they reimburse, for example?
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Old 27.02.2018, 15:42
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

I've been on Assura for 5 years now. Absolutely love them, could not be possibly better.


Sorry to hear you've had a rougher experience.
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Old 27.02.2018, 15:44
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

Why not read the conditions before signing up?
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:05
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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Therefore, all Swiss insurers are pretty much the same, they take your premiums, and they will be more creative than any other insurer to avoid paying a claim.
That clearly contradicts with my experience. No single claim rejected in 20 years here. Household damages, cracked car windshields, doctor and pharmacy bills - all paid, with no questions asked. I regularly change health insurance provider - just to keep the premiums low, thats another Swiss game.
Many providers are understaffed, have a mess with bills, sometimes one has to spend hours on the phone to track the correct bills down, but claims rejections?! I must be living in some other Switzerland.
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:15
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You were just lucky then. And obviously in many cases an insurer has no other choice than paying. The above general rule of doing business nonetheless still applies.
If good service is the exception to the rule and, as you say; "just lucky", how do you explain that they are still in business? Surely the first thing that happens is that unsatisfied customers bugger off to another company offering a better service. Your comment makes no sense.
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:27
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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Your comment makes no sense.
And this surprises you?

Tom
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:29
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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That's just how it works in Switzerland.
Have you actually ever BEEN to Switzerland, or are you just another internet troll?

Tom
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:33
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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It would be informative if you could share the details of your experience with Assura. Many people chose them for their low premiums.

I would not be surprised if there is an untold flipside to that coin.

But more generally, you need to know two things, in a shareholders' profit driven market, today's insurance business is based on the following : cash in the premiums from your insured client, then try to never pay their claims, it is a universal rule in the insurance business, people who work in this business will tell you that in private.
As you know the Swiss are very good businessmen, and there is only one rule in Switzerland, the rule of money which supersedes everything else.

Therefore, all Swiss insurers are pretty much the same, they take your premiums, and they will be more creative than any other insurer to avoid paying a claim. You should have zero trust in your insurer in Switzerland.
For starters, they all use very deceptive tactics to sell you policies whether it's complementary health insurance, life insurance or other products , this from the get go tells you all you need to know about them.
I had "friends" working as insurance salesmen, well known companies, they once told me after a few drinks how they deceived customers, they would tell me with a big laugh "they don't know that our job is to never pay a claim !".

That's just how it works in Switzerland.
AFAIK, Swiss health insurance companies are not allowed to make a profit (at least on basic health insurance).
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:39
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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That clearly contradicts with my experience. No single claim rejected in 20 years here. Household damages, cracked car windshields, doctor and pharmacy bills - all paid, with no questions asked. I regularly change health insurance provider - just to keep the premiums low, thats another Swiss game.
And furthermore, I believe the insurers are forbidden by law from making a profit on the basic health insurance. They may cover their costs of course, and some may push the boundaries a bit there. But on the balance sheet they're still not allowed to have a profit. That's why they often push you into buying complementary pacakges - those are the ones they can legitimately make a profit on.
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:41
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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Surely the first thing that happens is that unsatisfied customers bugger off to another company offering a better service.
Well... At least in Switzerland, switching health insurance to a provider with another name does not mean you switch to another company
I tend to suspect that in fact there are at best only 2 or 3 insurers in Switzerland, and the names like Assura, Helsana, Visana, Aspecta etc etc are there just to confuse the customers. All these daughter companies occasionally pretend to have low premiums, but be sure that the lowest-premium company will become highest-premium next year, and the custometr's challenge is not to miss this moment, and switch in time.
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:43
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

To add to that, krankenkasses are prohibited from profiting on basic health insurance.
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:43
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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Look around! I started just this afternoon, after the latest upsetting call with them which concluded with me needing to look for a dental trauma treatment for my 3 year old outside of our canton of residence, and to pay for it myself (and I have complementary dental insurance, of course...). There are many options out there, and I hope you can recommend me something.
Just another thought, wouldn't the complementary dental insurance only cover dental treatment rather than "trauma"? If you mean the 3 year old has had some kind of accident with the teeth (knocked out? chipped?), you should be looking at accident insurance rather than dental.
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Old 27.02.2018, 16:57
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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You were just lucky then. And obviously in many cases an insurer has no other choice than paying. The above general rule of doing business nonetheless still applies.
So am I then. In over 20 years, not once have we had an insurance claim refused; for health, house contents, or car. Not once.
I even had an unsecured bike stolen from our shared garage and was still reimbursed, albeit with a bit of a ticking off and "don't do it again" suggestion. This was about 3 months I'd had another (secured) bike stolen from the inside the front entrance at work.
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Old 27.02.2018, 17:03
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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If good service is the exception to the rule and, as you say; "just lucky", how do you explain that they are still in business? Surely the first thing that happens is that unsatisfied customers bugger off to another company offering a better service. Your comment makes no sense.
probably many people never claim and so don't deal with their service.

i paid them 9 years of premiums but never claimed once. i went with them as i'm healthy and they are low cost, but under no illusion that probably they don't get to that low cost without being tight on the payment side.
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Old 27.02.2018, 17:16
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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And then switched our complementary insurance to Assura in 2015. We ended up paying the full package for 4 people, with basic (highest franchise) and a full complementary package, for over 10K a year.
[..]And we are stuck with them until end of 2020, as they very sneakily never increase their complementary insurance premiums
Everybody can cancel their basic health insurance at least once a year (per December 31, with 3 months notice). You however can additionaly do so per June 30 because you have minimum deductible. Your new insurance can have any deductible you chose, doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter whether they raise the premium or not, just make sure you honor the 3-month cancel period (i.e. notice must have been received before end of March. Best is to send now and request confirmation, otherwise use registered mail if you send around the end of March). Make sure your old insurance has received confirmation by the new insurance before the end date, and that there are no payments outstanding (in a few rare cases people have had to pay two insurances for a year because the old insurance was forbidden to let them go due to either of these two reasons).

I would have to dig for the source and specifics, but mandatory and supplemental insurance must not be coupled. You can switch basic insurance to a different insurer even when you (have to) keep the supplementary insurance with the old insurance.

I seem to remember that it's Ok to provide a rebate on the supplemental's premium if you have both parts with the same insurer, so the premium for the supplemental may rise a bit - need not but may. Perhaps enquire before giving notice.
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Old 27.02.2018, 17:25
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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Understand though that each person insured with basic coverage can be sold some complementary insurance or other product thus profits are generated indirectly from the mandatory insurance. Then nothing prevents a company from adopting the above rule of doing business to avoid losses in that business line. Finally accounting tricks abound to divert profits.
Let me put it very bluntly, you know absolutely nothing about how the insurance industry works. Every single statement you have made about how profits are generated has been incorrect. If you knew anything about insurance, you'd know that a well run insurance company is one who only pays out about 100% of the premiums and yes many actually pay out more than they collect. Of course profits are made and made legally but not in the way you think.
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Old 27.02.2018, 17:29
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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and yes many actually pay out more than they collect. Of course profits are made and made legally but not in the way you think.
So they run at a loss or am I missing something in your explanation?
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Old 27.02.2018, 18:07
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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probably many people never claim and so don't deal with their service.

i paid them 9 years of premiums but never claimed once. i went with them as i'm healthy and they are low cost, but under no illusion that probably they don't get to that low cost without being tight on the payment side.
same here.

Assura was my first health insurance, after health insurance became mandatory.

I chose them because I was a cheapskate and at the time they were the cheapest on offer.
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Old 27.02.2018, 18:08
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Re: Assura - simply NEVER

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So they run at a loss or am I missing something in your explanation?
Nope. Between collecting and payout, the insurance has time to earn money on the premium, that's where it makes (a big portion of, these days) its money/profits. Though the models for risk insurance and life insurance differ.

See Warren Buffett on "the float", for instance.
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