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Old 26.11.2009, 01:23
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Pointers when it comes to changing your health insurance

Hi everyone,

I have been meaning to post something on here for the last few weeks but as most of you know, the health insurance premiums have shot up for 2010 meaning that I've been a bit snowed under to say the least with lots of questions etc.

I've read quite a few points about changing providers so thought I'd give you some last minute pointers based on some misunderstandings I've seen on the forum :

- When choosing a new provider, make sure you know what you're signing up for.

Sometimes people will choose the cheapest company they find on comparis without realising that they're signing up for an insurance with a restricted list of doctors etc. so read the small print!
There are some new companies around for 2010 who have quite a lot of restrictions

- If you have a pre-existing condition you can change providers no problem for the basic insurance.

If you're only switching the basic (LAMal/KVG) then you shouldn't have to fill out a health questionnaire though I've known of some companies in the past asking people to. By law you don't need to.

- There has been a change in the law for 2010 regarding the maximum reduction health insurance companies are allowed to give for the highest deductible.

If you have a 2'500.- deductible and you're doing a comparison, once you've found the company you'd like to go with, double-check how much they cost for a 2'000.- deductible as the difference is sometimes negligable (in some cases 50c a month)

- If you've already sent a cancellation letter in, you may have received acknowledgement from your present provider stating that you can only change once they've received proof from your new provider etc.

This is because there are actually 3 conditions to changing basic insurance :
i) You have to get your letter in by registered mail (or by hand) by the 30th of November
ii) You have to be up to date with your premium payments
iii) You have to have a new insurance company to go to.
As it's compulsory, you can't just cancel it altogether, so your current company will send you a standard letter saying that they'll let you go once they receive an attestation from your new provider.
This is standard and your new company will send the attestation, don't worry. They do it every year for thousands of people and are used to it.

- Don't believe everything you read about "average" increases.

Percentage wise it's difficult to say by how much they've gone up.
Some cantons have increased a lot more than others (Berne has been badly hit for example).
Also, due to the change in law about the maximum discount for taking a high deductible, those with a 2'500.- deductible will see a higher increase proportionally than those with a 300.- deductible.

The "record" I've seen so far is one company in Berne who have increased their premiums for children at a 500.- deductible by 163% - yes, that's 163%

- If you have your cancellation letter ready, send it off now.

Although we have until Monday the 30th, you're better off being a day early than a day late.
Also, if you're planning to take the letter in by hand, take it in on Friday rather than leaving it to the last minute.
A lot of the smaller branches are often mysteriously closed on the 30th of November for "stock takes", "works", "meetings" etc.
(This is from personal experience!)
Also, if you do take a letter in by hand, don't leave until they accept it. Take a copy and get your copy stamped and signed as proof of acceptance.
I've also had experience of companies refusing point-blank to take letters off people even though they have to accept them by law (after all, they don't refuse the postman do they?)

- Some companies may increase their premiums again during 2010.

According to santésuisse 18 companies may increase their premiums again next summer for the basic insurance.
Those who are not increasing will be advertising that they aren't.

If this does happen, you'll be able to change your provider as long as you're up to date with payments.

More info in French : http://www.santesuisse.ch/fr/dyn_out...tail=yes&navid=

and in German : http://www.20min.ch/gesundheit/news/story/17290331

---

Cancelling Supplementary Insurance

Normally you have to get your letter in a lot earlier for the supplementary insurance however.... if the premiums have increased, you can cancel this part too by giving notice by the end of November.
This should be stated in their general conditions.

N.B. This is the same law which governs car and household insurances too so the same conditions apply. (LCA/VVG)

Companies who are rumoured to have increased at least some of their supplementary insurance premiums for 2010 :

CSS, Sympany, Helsana, Sanitas, Swica, Concordia, Atupri, KPT/CPT, Intras, Visana

N.B. I wouldn't advise cancelling your supplementary insurance if you think there's a chance of you being refused by another company due to a pre-existing condition or your BMI etc. so be careful!

------

I hope this lot helps anyone thinking of changing

Apologies for the lateness of my post - these really are "last-minute" pointers!

Jenny
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  #2  
Old 26.11.2009, 01:31
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Re: Pointers when it comes to changing your health insurance

Jenny, you post nothing but incredibly helpful information. Thank you very much for building a really valuable resource here. You deserve rep.
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Old 26.11.2009, 12:17
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Re: Pointers when it comes to changing your health insurance

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for that info, as a newbie to the Swiss health insurance system it's invaluable.

I'm in a bit of a late dash to change my insurance after finding out about Swisscare on this forum - things are a little complicated because I'm not sure if I'm going to be in Switzerland beyond the end of this year.

Adding to that the fact that I need to transfer my residence permit from Bern to Zürich before being able to sign up for Swisscare, which will take eons if the amount of time it took to get my residence permit is anything to go by, I'm really anxious to somehow get things sorted so that I'm not forced to shell out for the ridiculous Sympany premiums (mine have gone from 156CHF to 270CHF ).

Below is an email I've sent to my insurer (I spoke to them yesterday on the phone and was told I can give notice of cancellation by email), which explains the minor pickle I'm in. I'd really appreciate any advice.

Quote:
Dear insurer types, I would like to cancel my policy, yadayadayada..

My situation is not crystal clear, as I am in negotiations with my employer to extend my contract beyond the end of 2009, but as yet no conclusion has been made, and I must assume that I will be leaving Switzerland as of December 31st 2009, when my residence L-permit expires. Please find attached a scan of my residence permit.

I understand that normally, for cases of cancellation when someone is leaving the country, a stamped letter of de-registration from the local authorities is required; as there is a chance that I may stay in Switzerland and extend my L-permit, I cannot provide this letter at this time. However, even if I do return to Switzerland at the start of 2010, I wish to cancel my insurance with Vivao Sympany nonetheless.

On the other hand, in case I do not stay in Switzerland beyond December 31st, I cannot commit to a new health insurance policy at this moment, and so cannot provide confirmation of a new policy from another health insurance provider.

Thus, because of the uncertainty in my employment, I cannot provide the full quota of documents that are required to cancel my insurance before Novemeber 30th.

I would very much appreciate your understanding in this matter, and hope that my notice of cancellation, as it is before the November 30th deadline, is valid, pending the forwarding of either a notice of de-registration, or confirmation of a new insurance provider at a later date.
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Old 26.11.2009, 16:25
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Re: Pointers when it comes to changing your health insurance

I knew I'd forget something.....

Last point....

- The 30th of November is the cancellation deadline

NOT the last date you have to sign up for a new company.

You have until the end of the year to sign up for your new company so if you are running late because you haven't yet made a decision about your new insurance company but you know you definitely want to cancel, then you should cancel and take more time for choosing your new provider next week.

---

Ok, should be it!
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Old 26.11.2009, 23:15
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Re: Pointers when it comes to changing your health insurance

Sorry, it wasn't it....

If you do leave it until Monday and know that you'll have trouble getting to the insurance company to hand in your letter, you can always fax it to them.
You just need to keep proof of the fax arriving.
You can then send the letter on (again by registered mail).

Ok, that really should be it!
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Old 09.01.2010, 13:21
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Re: Pointers when it comes to changing your health insurance

Jenny im covered with intras and i was paying something around 250 a month and now it has suddenly increased to 400 a month! shouldnt they have told me in advance of this increase? also even if they have, i dont sprak eny french so maybe i ignored a letter im not sure, but is there anyway i can get out of this? thanks
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Old 09.01.2010, 14:41
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Re: Pointers when it comes to changing your health insurance

I'm afraid it's too late....

You should have received notification in October of your new premiums. At that time, you had until the end of November to cancel.

Not a lot you can do unless Intras increase their premiums again mid-year (as some companies are expected to do). Otherwise, you're stuck with them until 2011 I'm afraid
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