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Old 13.01.2021, 11:27
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Should I get supplementary insurance?

Hi,
I'm signing up for the basic insurance, and am wondering whether a supplementary insurance would be useful for something?

I'm in my early thirties, already have accident insurance and travel insurance.
My projected visits would be:
1. Dermatologist check ups twice a year (should be included in basic, as I have a first degree family member who had melanoma)
2. I want to try to get a Adderall/Ritalin prescription
3. STD check ups once a year

Would supplemental insurance be useful for any of that? From what I see, it's mostly good for glasses, new-age medicine, massages and such.
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Old 13.01.2021, 21:12
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

I don't see the point of supplementary insurance given your list.
  • Dermatologists would be covered under most basic insurances, particularly if referred by your primary doctor.
  • Adderall/Ritalin is carefully controlled, and having a supplementary insurance doesn't give you any more likelihood of getting the medicine.
  • STD checkups can be done by your primary doctor.
All of the above subject to your annual franchise/deductible and co-pays of course.
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Old 14.01.2021, 06:09
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

If you're female just something to consider :

1. Supplemental insurance will help cover Pap Smears not covered by your main insurer. This was an issue for me when I was pregnant. A Pap Smear was required as part of the initial pregnancy visit. The main insurer wouldn't cover it, even though it was listed as a necessary prenatal exam. My supplemental insurer did.

2. Pregnancy - If you plan on becoming pregnant or think you might, it might good to think about having supplemental insurance. Many supplemental insurers want you to be insured with them for 2 years before covering any costs related to pregnancy .

Things that supplemental insurance could help cover during pregnancy are lab tests, treatments like acupuncture, prenatal and pregnancy courses, massage, which doctor you can have deliver your baby ( meaning the head doctor or doctor on staff ), it can also help pay the cost of a private or semi-private room and meals for your spouse if they stay with you in hospital . I'm sure there may be other benefits, but it's all I could think of at the moment.

If you're not a female or not pregnant : The main benefit that we saw was helping pay for a nicer more private room, eye glasses, and if I remember correctly some travel insurance coverage so that we were covered overseas in case of an accident or emergency.

HTH
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Old 14.01.2021, 09:43
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

We looked at changing from Concordia to Swica supplementary insurance this year as the benefits for us were better but due to age we didn't get it approved by Swica. The advantages were more alternative treatments, checkups and gym membership partially covered as well as accident and travel (depending on policy), so a basic policy might end up close to cost neutral depending on your lifestyle.
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Old 14.01.2021, 10:09
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

As with all insurances, what you don't need today you may need tomorrow but then of course it will not be accessible to you.

So think through a couple of life scenarios that could happen and how you would like to be covered then and then make your decision based on what you can afford.

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Old 14.01.2021, 11:16
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

I don't have supplementary insurance, specifically private or half-private, because I did not qualify for it when I moved here.

At first it didn't make any difference, as I was never sick, only saw the doctor once a year for routine checks. However as I grew older there have been several times when I wish I had it, as with it I would have had access to certain specialists and a different level of hospital care.

This is very much a YMMV situation. I live in an area with a small hospital, one that does not have many of the bells and whistles, and there are not many specialists practicing in the area. Having only basic insurance has at times limited my care options. If you live in a more urban area you likely have a wider choice of hospitals and specialists, urban hospitals often can recruit top younger staff more easily, so you might not need a higher level of insurance.

One option you might consider is the 'flex' addition to your basic insurance. IIRC most insurers offer something along these lines. With this package you can upgrade a hospital stay, both accommodation and seniority of attending doctor, should you ever want/need it. The additional monthly premium is not too much, and the self-pay for such an upgrade per stay, last time I looked, was only 4-5K.

If you browse the forum you'll find several threads on this topic, and you'll find posters whose experiences have been the opposite of mine, who have had no trouble accessing top level care with only basic insurance. As said, YMMV.

You might not need/want 'better' insurance now... but down the road, when you no longer qualify, you might wish you had it. It's a roll of the dice.
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Old 14.01.2021, 11:39
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

It's not a simple yes / no question - supplementary insurance is a bit "a la carte", you can pick and choose options depending on what you need and what you can afford.

I've never used mine, and should probably cancel what little I have - for example I'm paying for a double room rather than a ward, but

a. I've never seen anything bigger than a double room in Swiss hospitals
b. I'd view sharing as a chance to improve my German (ideally while drugged up and relaxed, probably good for practicing)
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Old 14.01.2021, 12:56
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

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It's not a simple yes / no question - supplementary insurance is a bit "a la carte", you can pick and choose options depending on what you need and what you can afford.

I've never used mine, and should probably cancel what little I have - for example I'm paying for a double room rather than a ward, but

a. I've never seen anything bigger than a double room in Swiss hospitals
b. I'd view sharing as a chance to improve my German (ideally while drugged up and relaxed, probably good for practicing)
My husband was in a four bed recovery room following his shoulder surgery. He did indeed get to practice his German as the three others in the room as well as most of the nurses didnít speak much English and either didnít speak French or didnít want to.
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Old 14.01.2021, 13:01
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

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a. I've never seen anything bigger than a double room in Swiss hospitals
Just an FYI, four to a room is standard in the general (as in, basic insurance) floor in the local hospital here.

But as in my post above, this is a small hospital without many of the bells and whistles.

Although come to think of it, I've visited a friend at one of the larger ZH hospitals and it was also four to a room.



FYI: If all one wants is a bit more privacy, at the local hospital there is a double and a single room on the general floor that one can ask for, with an upgrade fee per night paid out of pocket. One can do the same at some other hospitals, prices from what I have heard seem to vary widely.
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Old 14.01.2021, 13:04
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

I've suffered sleepless nights on a couple of occasions when in for surgery, with a very noisy room-mate in a twin room. One time he was clearly non-compos-mentis and kept falling out of bed all night.

Since then, although probably only once, I've just asked to have a private room and to pay the difference myself, and I think my wife's done this two or three times. Definitely worthwhile, and at just a couple of hundred chfs much cheaper than paying for supplementary cover, of which this is the only benefit that I could ever imagine using.

Edit: Hah, just beaten to it by Melloncollie. Great minds, eh?
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Old 14.01.2021, 13:21
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

Pretty sure you cannot get Adderall here. Ritalin is not a problem on the basic. Adults are even covered for Ritalin. But, you probably will need to have a diagnosis, especially as an adult. That could cost as much as chf 2500-3000, not sure how it's covered. If you have one from another country that might be ok (I had a fairly comprehensive one from the US), but I still had to see a specialist when I lived in Bern. Now in Zurich, my GP read my diagnosis packet and prescribes my Ritalin.

I moved here when I was too old to qualify for supplemental. I've been treated for breast cancer and had knee replacements. The care has been great, and when I was hospitalised for the knees, I was in a double, which was fine, and a triple, which was not quite as fine - but it was 35 degrees outside. However, if you might want some of the special things such as gym membership, alternative medicine, and more choice with doctors in hospital, apply for supplemental.
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Old 14.01.2021, 14:37
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

I've been in two hospitals here in Bern. In both, the main wards for basic insurance were four beds to a room except for maternity. Those were two beds to a room. In one hospital I had a private room with just a bed for me, but the loo and shower were down the hall. That was a tad inconvenient, but it was far better than dealing with a roommate turning lights on and off, talking on the phone, having a bunch of visitors (pre-Covid) or watching TV at full volume.
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Old 17.01.2021, 14:27
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

The only thing that sounds significant to me is the free choice of specialists. Can I throw money at it ad-hoc?

The rest of the benefits sound like they are more a convenience thing that can be solved by paying a one-time sum for the wanted benefit instead of the monthly premiums. Am I wrong?

I don't understand what's the benefit of funneling part of the money for a gym membership through the health insurer. I guess it's just a way for them to motivate you to stay healthy (go to the gym -> pay lower premiums)?
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Old 17.01.2021, 14:40
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

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Thanks for sharing your experiences!

The only thing that sounds significant to me is the free choice of specialists. Can I throw money at it ad-hoc?

The rest of the benefits sound like they are more a convenience thing that can be solved by paying a one-time sum for the wanted benefit instead of the monthly premiums. Am I wrong?

I don't understand what's the benefit of funneling part of the money for a gym membership through the health insurer. I guess it's just a way for them to motivate you to stay healthy (go to the gym -> pay lower premiums)?
Actually, Iíve not had a problem finding a specialist for the most part - my gyn, oncologist and knee surgeon were all my own choice. I did talk to a knee surgeon who could not do my surgery in a private hospital. I guess I could have paid for it on my own.

Also, if you live in Zurich or Bern, for example, you might have more choice of doctors whether you have supplimental or not.

One thing to realize is that the basic insurance generates no profit for insurance companies. Where they make their money is on supplemental, so there is some profit motive. But, going forward, I suppose if health care becomes terribly expensive it is possible that the system will turn into a two tier system, where people with supplemental get marginally better care. But, I donĎt see that happening for a while because I think it goes against the basic idea of Swiss health care. DonĎt know.....
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:56
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

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Thanks for sharing your experiences!

The only thing that sounds significant to me is the free choice of specialists. Can I throw money at it ad-hoc?

The rest of the benefits sound like they are more a convenience thing that can be solved by paying a one-time sum for the wanted benefit instead of the monthly premiums. Am I wrong?

I don't understand what's the benefit of funneling part of the money for a gym membership through the health insurer. I guess it's just a way for them to motivate you to stay healthy (go to the gym -> pay lower premiums)?
Finding a specialist you can do under the basic by choosing the open model.

But some specialist may do survey only at private clinics so if you do not have private coverage, they may send you to other specialists. Not dramatic as level.pf public hospital is great. Jut something to consider.

Again, you will not want it until you might and then won't be accessible. This is very much down to your own preference.
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Old 17.01.2021, 15:57
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Re: Should I get supplementary insurance?

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Thanks for sharing your experiences!

The only thing that sounds significant to me is the free choice of specialists. Can I throw money at it ad-hoc?

The rest of the benefits sound like they are more a convenience thing that can be solved by paying a one-time sum for the wanted benefit instead of the monthly premiums. Am I wrong?
Yes, you can throw money at it ad-hoc, and no, you’re not wrong. Since I haven’t seen it mentioned: Higher insurance status will actually increase your risk of getting unneccessary surgery. This has been well documented, not only for hysterectomies, which seem to have gone out of fashion anyway.

Last edited by missenglish; 17.01.2021 at 16:18.
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