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Old 11.07.2007, 20:10
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Health Coverage In Two Countries?

I will be moving to Switzerland this November. I live with type one insulin independent diabetes plus I recently had a living donor kidney transplant. I am very healthy and doing well but need close medical attention and big time drugs...medication.

I have to return to the US at least twice a year for both work and family. My challenge...to find a way to continue health care in two countries. The US health care is a "For Profit" system...very capitalistic. I know they all are, gotta make $ for research and medication but in the US everything is privatized which means more room for exploitation and over the top capitalism.

Okay, my question...Has anyone here gone through or experienced a similar situation...where they NEED to be covered in two countries and if so how did you go about working it out at a reasonable cost.

Or can I come back to the US and get health coverage WITHOUT having to go through the "PRE-EXISTING HEALTH CLAUSE" (having to pay for the insurance itself PLUS pay out of pocket for doctor visits, hospital visits an medication for the first six months). One of my meds is 3000USD per month and my other one 2000USD per month...I am also on insulin, syringes plus a couple of other medications.

I am an artist with no company health care plan... and I work job to job...freelance. I always get work ( I create do unusual stuff) so I am not worried 'bout that.

Please...any and all help would be much appreciated! I know some people do not like talking about their personal health so if ya wanna contact me off the board please send a private note! I have no problem talking about my health, I lead support groups for people of all ages! I love helping/educating others through my own experience!

Thanks in advance!

Mary

I just wanted to add that I am going for Swiss citizenship. I intend to live in Switzerland permanently but I do have a lot of business in the US which will mean I will be spending months at a time in the States. Temporary or travel insurance will not cover the medications for more than a couple of months. Sometimes, when working in American television I would have to spend up to seven or more months when developing a series.

Last edited by Szandor_Nostromo; 11.07.2007 at 21:06.
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Old 11.07.2007, 23:57
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

I also have a similar problem in that I spend time between the UK and Switzerland. I have recently had 2 heart stents fitted and my insurance co will not give me travel ins which covers me in Switzerland for a year. I know I am covered with my EHIC but that I believe only has limited cover. I have to come over several times in the next few months, so do you just take the risk plus your credit cards?
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Old 12.07.2007, 00:20
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

Well usually your swiss insurance will pay for your bills out of the country. however they can find ways to get out of paying.. i had to have a blood transfusion in Turkey, and overnight hospitalization and xrays done in the US

the swiss insurance wouldn't pay a dime for. they claimed i needed to have a doctor in switzerland recommend the hospital visit and blood transfusion. Luckily i had my US insurance that paid for everything....

but if i were you i would write to your swiss insurance and find out all the legal work you need to be able to go to the doctors in the US-so you dont end up paying for it.

good luck
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Old 12.07.2007, 00:52
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

smackerjack: yeah, i had a stent in my heart (it's out now)when i was on dialysis so i know how much medical attention is needed...it can get costly!

javo: thanx! i am going to talk to the insurance agent when i return to switzerland in august. i hope i can find some answers. it is tough in the united states, they (the government and all private carriers) make it very difficult and can charge thousands, yes, thousands of dollars more for a person with a pre-existing medical condition. i may have to pay for two insurance companies...that is what i was trying to avoid....and maybe i will!
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Old 12.07.2007, 00:53
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

Do you have US health insurance now? I couldn't tell from your post. If so, and if you have any intention of returning to the US in the near future I would recommend you keep your US insurance if you can afford it. Until they come up with a National Health Care Plan in the US, you will never be able to get new insurance in the US with a pre-existing condition such as yours, possibly not even through an employer. I don't know anything about Swiss insurance but it sounds like it would cover temporary issues out of country but wouldn't help if you ended up moving back to the US for a longer period of time.

I will actually be covered by a US policy while I'm living in Switzerland because I'm technically an employee of a US based company. This insurance (Blue Cross) will cover my medical expenses in Switzerland (as long as I use an in-network physician which there are in Geneva) but I do have to pay out of pocket and then get reimbursed. You might consider seeing if your current US policy (if you have one) could be continued and work the same way in Switzerland.
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Old 12.07.2007, 01:40
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

That would be my next thing to say - if you bail out from your US insurance now, it would be very difficult to get it back once you return to the US. Oh, the joys of moving abroad...

I also have a chronical condition, and i ended up by paying the private insurance i had back in Spain, and have restricted policy in Switzerland. You will allways get covered by the basic insurance (i.e. Kanton Hospital....), but they can cut your legs on the private ones and whatever extensions you may want to have. I had to provide them some medical records and statements from my doctor for the the pre existing health cause. Actually, i do prefer not to change medical teams at this point of my life...

All i can recommend is to hold firmly your US policy and have a lot of patiente when handling with the insurance company in Switzerland untill you have things sorted out. The older i grow, the more I understand that medical questions should not be left to the mercy of for profit companies...
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Old 12.07.2007, 02:11
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

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Do you have US health insurance now?

You might consider seeing if your current US policy (if you have one) could be continued and work the same way in Switzerland.
Yes I am covered by Medicare (when a US citizen has End Stage Renal Dis-ease they get Medicare...all ages) and Aetna. I am very well insured and have had to make this a priority for most of my life. When I switched ins companies (had Blue Cross) I was covered immediately because I had kept constant coverage.

I have Aetna through my art studio/company and they will not pay overseas. I plan to stay in Switzerland for many years...just inherited a beautiful house.
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Old 12.07.2007, 02:21
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

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All i can recommend is to hold firmly your US policy and have a lot of patiente when handling with the insurance company in Switzerland untill you have things sorted out. The older i grow, the more I understand that medical questions should not be left to the mercy of for profit companies...
I will meet with an agent from Helsana, my father -in-law's ins. co.. They said they would cover me but at what cost???

I know I will be returning to The States because my mom and step mom are ill and will need care...plus i have work in California...I would give up the US work and focus on European work (I've been getting so much work out of Germany) but that won't help on the family front.

ur right 'bout holding onto the US ins.

It'll all work out...I just like hearing and learning from others who have been through similar challenges.

thanks!
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Old 12.07.2007, 10:07
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

There is a very good FAQ on this forum about medical insurance in Switzerland.

Just to clarify some points : Swiss medical insurance companies are non-profit making. For the basic insurance they have to accept you irrespective of pre-existing medical conditions. They cannot load the premium or terminate the cover because you are a bad risk. The basic insurance includes cover for emergency treatment while abroad see this and click on 1.4 Cover Abroad. As this suggests its just for emergencies and not for routine treatment.
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Old 12.07.2007, 18:56
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

Thanks Blonaybear!

I saw Comparis but I have to really look at it in great detail. I have the same kind of of coverage in the US without the supplemental overseas coverage.

I mean, my insurance will pay for emergency treatment in Europe. The only thing I could not do is pay out of pocket for an emergency and wait till I got back to the States for review and reimbursement. My last visit to Switzerland was great...I did not think about having problems therefore they did not occur.

When I return in August I am meeting with people at St Gallen hospital as well as a few insurance agents. My father-in-law had Helsana which looked perfect for me...just cannot afford to lay out 5000-6000 dollars up front for medicine and wait for reimbursement. Creating comic books and telling stories is really a labour of love...not for big money.

I currently pay 17,000 US dollars per year (insurance plus co-pays for meds and doctors) and I live very modestly, no vacations, no eating out or movies and things like that. I am not complaining because there are sacrifices I chose to make in order to do the work that I love. It keeps me alive and well but I basically work for my health insurance and well being. It is outrageous that people (w/chronic illness) are charged so much in the States just to stay alive but the Swiss insurance keeps looking brighter the more I review it!

I'm sure I'll find one that works plus with the supplemental...I guess I can't ask for more!
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Old 12.07.2007, 19:23
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Re: Health Coverage In Two Countries?

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Thanks Blonaybear!

I saw Comparis but I have to really look at it in great detail. I have the same kind of of coverage in the US without the supplemental overseas coverage.

I mean, my insurance will pay for emergency treatment in Europe. The only thing I could not do is pay out of pocket for an emergency and wait till I got back to the States for review and reimbursement. My last visit to Switzerland was great...I did not think about having problems therefore they did not occur.

When I return in August I am meeting with people at St Gallen hospital as well as a few insurance agents. My father-in-law had Helsana which looked perfect for me...just cannot afford to lay out 5000-6000 dollars up front for medicine and wait for reimbursement. Creating comic books and telling stories is really a labour of love...not for big money.

I currently pay 17,000 US dollars per year (insurance plus co-pays for meds and doctors) and I live very modestly, no vacations, no eating out or movies and things like that. I am not complaining because there are sacrifices I chose to make in order to do the work that I love. It keeps me alive and well but I basically work for my health insurance and well being. It is outrageous that people (w/chronic illness) are charged so much in the States just to stay alive but the Swiss insurance keeps looking brighter the more I review it!

I'm sure I'll find one that works plus with the supplemental...I guess I can't ask for more!
You could contact Jenny on this forum. See this.
As I said, you can get the basic Swiss insurance irrespective of your condition and at normal rates. If you wanted supplementary cover then that would be a different matter as it is subject to your medical condition. However, the basic insurance here is very good and many people have nothing else.
Regarding paying for drugs, you will find that the pharmacy will supply them and bill the insurance company direct so you don't have to worry about waiting for reimbursement.
Have a good look at Comparis to understand the full extent of the cover.
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