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Old 18.08.2009, 01:52
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Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

We are considering a job opportunity in Zurich but we are having a hard time understanding the healthcare system. From the information on this web-site we understand the system in Switzerland to be mandatory with local insurance through a basic plan and a supplementary plan.

Our issue is our five year old son who has been seen by a team of specialists at Boston Children's Hospital since he was born in 2003. So far, he is out of the woods and goes back for routine check-ups but since he has a rare chromosome deletion (you wouldn't know it looking at him) the specialists like to follow him with semi-annual visits. From the information I've read on the various forums I gather that 1.) there won't be any coverage for him for visits back at Children's Hospital Boston and 2.) his pre-existing condition may exclude him from any local coverage in Switzerland.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
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Old 18.08.2009, 07:10
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

no, his pre-excluding condition won't exclude him from the compulsory medical system...what you might not be able to get is 'supplementary' cover which includes things like him getting his own room in the hospital if he is there for a long stay, or one or two other things that we personally consider 'bells and whistles'...perhaps choosing the specific hospital or doctor. However, Switzerland is a small country, and there are only a few specialists that would see your child anyway...

OUr experience (our son has type 1 diabetes) is that there were no questions asked regarding his compulsory medical needs, we pay 10% of 200-300chf a month for his doctors, and about the same for his medication (his medication costs are maybe 300chf a month )...

OUr specialist in Australia gave us the name/number of the Professor of Endocrinology in Zurich, and when we arrived we saw a Paediatrician recommended by our son's teacher (good source of info!) - and he set us up with an appointment with the Professor - who was absolutely happy to have us as his regular patient - he speaks perfect English and is the 'top' expert in his field world-wide, so we are equally delighted!

We made sure that there was a large children's hospital near to where we live...because our son will have times that he needs to see the doctor urgently if he is sick...otherwise, our specialist told us some of his patients travel 2 hours each way to see him - we are 20 minutes by public transport to the Kinderspital (children's hospital)...

Hope that helps, and allays your fears.

We were also delighted that there were absolutely no issues about moving to Switzerland with a child with a chronic medical illness - you would not get the same 'equal' treatment if you tried to get residency in Australia
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Old 18.08.2009, 08:07
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

Do not worry, your child will qualify for the basic health insurance. Each and every person regardless of their condition has health insurnance. If I am not mistaken, this gives you access to the cantonal hospital services, so pick where you will live wisely because depending on the insurance coverage you may be restricted from going to a hospital in another canton.
Picking the center of Zurich close to the large teaching hospital is a good choice. Getting a solid English speaking Paediatrician and all the specialists you need lined up is the next step. The doctors here will work closely with your child's doctors in the States. At their level there are no frontiers or bounderies. But to do so you should have a full medical report ready for the new medical core. Do try and stay in the loop because here they do have a tendency to speak only to other doctors and you have to struggle to make sure you get copied on reports, results etc. Last step is, once you are established here, to have the paediatrician and specilaists determine his/her diagnostic because your child may qualify for "invalidity insurance" (the doctors know all the details in regards to this).
But.... regardless of the above, it still is quite a challenge to move countries with a special needs child and I would be hestitant. The medical infrastructure is very competent here.... but everything is very different. You'll be confronted with a new language, a new culture and that can be daunting when dealing with immediate medical needs.

Last edited by Sky; 18.08.2009 at 08:10. Reason: typo
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Old 18.08.2009, 08:09
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

I hope she doesn't mind but if you have any questions PM Jenny on this forum. She is very knowledgable and incredibly helpfull. She had loads of advice for me before and after I (I have bad lungs) moved here. Good luck!
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Old 18.08.2009, 11:50
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

Thank you all for your replies. We find this forum very helpful.
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Old 18.08.2009, 12:53
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

Maybe you can retain US healthcare insurance for your son? Thus you can go back to the Boston specialists, e.g. during holidays, or if you are unhappy with the Swiss facilities (which are world-class).
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Old 18.08.2009, 13:02
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

That is what we have on assignment right now in Bermuda and we are very happy with our current insurance. But, I'm being told our company is doing away with the ex-pat program and everyone will be on the local program. I'm not 100% sure if this includes the international medical program as well but probably given all the cost cutting we are undertaking.
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Old 18.08.2009, 13:06
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

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That is what we have on assignment right now in Bermuda and we are very happy with our current insurance. But, I'm being told our company is doing away with the ex-pat program and everyone will be on the local program. I'm not 100% sure if this includes the international medical program as well but probably given all the cost cutting we are undertaking.
In Switzerland, you'd end up having to buy the basic insurance regardless of an expat insurance program, so except to take your boy back for treatment, it wouldn't be very useful to you here.

Doctors here are expensive, but in general quite good. When I told my doctor in the States that I was moving to Switzerland, her reaction was "excellent medical care there, but very expensive!".

I'm pretty sure you'll find excellent treatment for your little one here. But I also echo the suggestion to speak with Jenny - she'll help you find the best insurance for your needs here.
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Old 18.08.2009, 13:11
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

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That is what we have on assignment right now in Bermuda and we are very happy with our current insurance. But, I'm being told our company is doing away with the ex-pat program and everyone will be on the local program. I'm not 100% sure if this includes the international medical program as well but probably given all the cost cutting we are undertaking.
Explore what it would cost to yourself pay US healthcare insurance for your son. Only for your peace of mind. You will almost certainly find top specialists in Switzerland.
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Old 18.08.2009, 13:23
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Re: Boston Children's Hospital - Medical Insurance

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Doctors here are expensive, but in general quite good. When I told my doctor in the States that I was moving to Switzerland, her reaction was "excellent medical care there, but very expensive!".
Judging by the prices quoted in this thread, it seems that the US is much more expensive than Switzerland.
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