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  #1  
Old 08.06.2006, 02:38
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Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

If you just arrived and are planning to stay for a few years or less, and want to keep your old health insurance, here is how you can get out of the Swiss one.

Download the form at your kanton that is based on bilateral EU exclusions, have your own insurance sign it, and then personally take it to your kanton's office. This is the hard way as not all companies sign it and not all kantons accept the signed form.

The easy way for EU citizens that can get a European Health Insurance Card is that you just show it to the same appropriate kanton's office. Under these bilateral rules, they should except the card as proof and not bother with the form.

If you have EU insurance, ask them about the card if you do not have one yet. It looks like a credit card with policy nr /name on it and the other side has the EU logo of stars in a circle.
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  #2  
Old 08.06.2006, 09:11
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insuranc

Good tip indeed. I am assuming that this tip works only if you are a new arrival. In other words, if you've already got Swiss insurance then it won't work if you try to switch to a cheaper one in another country that provides the same benefits?
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  #3  
Old 08.06.2006, 10:56
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

I'd think I'd rather pay for Swiss insurance to make sure I have cover, rather than rely on uk.gov to pay for me in case I get trashed by a tram...

My *personal* opinion:
Isn't the EHIC card thingy is only valid for residents on holiday etc?
If you're not resident, say in UK, you're not paying UK taxes, so why would uk.gov pay for my treatment?
Otherwise, they could have a liability for all UK expats in the EU area.
I wouldn't like to find out I have no cover after the aforementioned tram has trashed me...
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Old 08.06.2006, 11:15
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

gbn,

Having non-swiss health insurance makes a lot of sense. When we were talking about non-swiss this did not mean the UK's NHS, but people who may already have health insurance in another country. Often they provide cover for Switzerland at much lower costs that the Swiss insurance. Usually they provide more than the basic health cover required by law.

I checked into getting a BUPA international policy that covered me in Switzerland a few years back. The cost was a little lower than my basic Swiss policy, but gave me a ton of extras. Problem was that although it covered everything I needed, I just didn't have the energy to fight for it.

If you have a family this question becomes even more important!
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Old 08.06.2006, 11:35
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

Fair enough. I re-read the first post...

I've read about the BUPA policy before somewhere, and people had trouble convincing the local authorities it was Ok.
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Old 08.06.2006, 15:09
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

Yes I meant people with private health insurance, who pay on top of or indepent of whatever national scheme their government has. For people from Germany and Netherlands for example this insurance would be about 35-40% of the Swiss cost.

I assume it is only for new arrivals, as you have to do it within the three months although if you are energetic you can always go to the kanton with the EU card and ask (say just before the end of your yearly Swiss insurance is renewed). But don't call, you are not likely go get far on the phone I think.
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Old 18.09.2007, 13:19
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

Is anyone aware of a Swiss insurer that provides a service like BUPA international - ie you're covered for sickness in any country you happen to be in?

Our situation is slightly complicated. Our primary residence will be Switzerland but I spend significant amounts of time in 3 other countries (including the US)

BUPA have a product which is much more than travel insurance and which covers me wherever I am. It even provides US cover provided I don't spend more than 90 days a year in the US.

I've found nothing like this on Comparis.ch and don't know if such a policy would exist in Switzerland. If it does then I'm happy to take it, but otherwise it sounds like I'll be trying to persuade the Vaud authorities to accept my current BUPA policy!

Any suggestions on where I can get a Swiss-issued global health insurance policy?

And does anyone have recent experience of dealing with the Vaud authorities re BUPA?
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Old 18.09.2007, 13:48
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

The basic Swiss insurance does cover you while abroad for emergency treatment. See this. You can also increase your cover by buying supplementary cover or you can buy travel insurance (assurance Voyages) which most companies offer.
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  #9  
Old 18.09.2007, 14:02
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

For what it's worth, a former colleague from the UK did manage on his BUPA cover here, starting in the late 1990s (not sure which year). He had to fight instead of buckling under the pressure from his Gemeinde to get Swiss health insurance, not only when he arrived, but every now and again throughout his stay.

I have no idea which plan he had, but it enabled him to use BUPA for a private consultation (not emergency treatment) during one trip back to the UK, as well as providing cover here.
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Old 18.09.2007, 18:18
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

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If you just arrived and are planning to stay for a few years or less, and want to keep your old health insurance, here is how you can get out of the Swiss one.

Download the form at your kanton that is based on bilateral EU exclusions, have your own insurance sign it, and then personally take it to your kanton's office. This is the hard way as not all companies sign it and not all kantons accept the signed form.

The easy way for EU citizens that can get a European Health Insurance Card is that you just show it to the same appropriate kanton's office. Under these bilateral rules, they should except the card as proof and not bother with the form.

If you have EU insurance, ask them about the card if you do not have one yet. It looks like a credit card with policy nr /name on it and the other side has the EU logo of stars in a circle.
With regard to cover by the system in your home country donít assume that you will be automatically entitled to this. If you come from the UK, for example, if you have been resident here more than three months you are no longer covered by the NHS. From the Department of Health website -

Quote:
Are you visiting the United Kingdom? Have you been living outside the UK for more than 3 months? Did you know that you may have to pay for hospital treatment whilst here? Hospital treatment is free to people who ordinarily live in the United Kingdom (UK). If you do not normally live here then you may be required to pay for any treatment you might need. This is regardless of whether you are a British citizen or have lived or worked here in the past.
In order to obtain the benefit of the NHS you have to move your residence back to the UK and not just visit. You can obtain emergency treatment in the UK if you have Swiss insurance and produce your Swiss insurance card.

The bilateral agreement refers to emergency treatment only while visiting a country where you are NOT resident. If you received treatment under this system you would have to pay the bill and reclaim it from your home country but, as you would not be resident there, you would probably be unable to do so

When comparing the Swiss system with insurers such as BUPA bear in mind that there is one very big and important difference. Here you are entitled to the basic insurance irrespective of pre-existing medical conditions and the insurers cannot increase your premium because of your medical condition. With supplementary insurance the insurer can consider pre-existing conditions but once you have it they cannot cancel the cover or load the premium if you develop a medical condition such as heart condition, diabetes, arthritis or asthma etc.

With companies like BUPA they do take into account pre-existing conditions and once you have the policy they can refuse renewal or impose terms because of any condition that you may have developed. See this.
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  #11  
Old 22.09.2007, 23:44
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

Since posting the above another member of the forum has discovered this on The Department Of Health website under ĎHealth Advice For Travellersí. It states that, under certain circumstances the European Health Insurance Card can be used if you work abroad for up to a year. You have to maintain the UK NHI contributions of course.

Thereís also more information about claiming on this when in Switzerland here.

As you have to pay any bills yourself and then reclaim the money you would obviously have to have sufficient funds available to meet any likely bills.

I donít understand the Ďexcess chargeí or Ďpatients contributioní and it doesnít say how much this is. Under a normal Swiss police you have to pay an annual excess (deductable) of CHF 300 (minimum) so presumably its something similar but as it has to be paid for every 30 day period of treatment it would be interesting to know how much it is.
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Old 23.09.2007, 10:35
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

There is a way for mothers do get around the Swiss health insurance. For me it worked like that: I was on maternity leave in Germany when we moved here. As we can have 3 years (no spelling mistake, yes it's 3 years!) for each child, I simply stayed employed in Germany and kept my health insurance which for the duration of my maternity leave is for free anyway.
So while I am not working here (and I can't see that happening for a while yet, don't get me started on working mothers in Switzerland ) I am enjoying my free German health insurance. The kids had to be insured via my husband, but through me are still insured (for free) in Germany as well.
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Old 23.09.2007, 14:10
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

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There is a way for mothers do get around the Swiss health insurance. For me it worked like that: I was on maternity leave in Germany when we moved here. As we can have 3 years (no spelling mistake, yes it's 3 years!) for each child, I simply stayed employed in Germany and kept my health insurance which for the duration of my maternity leave is for free anyway.
So while I am not working here (and I can't see that happening for a while yet, don't get me started on working mothers in Switzerland ) I am enjoying my free German health insurance. The kids had to be insured via my husband, but through me are still insured (for free) in Germany as well.
Itís an interesting position that you describe but I would suggest that you check carefully that you are, in fact, still covered under the German insurance. Presumably you have moved your residence from Germany to Switzerland in which case are you sure that your German cover is still valid ? If you move your residence out of the UK your entitlement to the health service stops after 3 months. Iím not saying itís the same for German but, in your own interest, do make absolutely sure.
In the case of your children, if they are covered under the Swiss scheme then they are entitled to a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) under this but you cannot hold a card from two different countries, for obvious reasons, and I think you will find that the German one should be surrendered.
Do be careful and make sure that you are covered and, if in doubt, ask for written confirmation. An example of this is the two previous posts Iíve made which refer to the UK system where the Dept. of Health website, under two different sections, there is information which appears to contradict the other.
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Old 23.09.2007, 16:41
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

I had an interesting response from BUPA when I asked them to send me the form saying that I had appropriate health insurance through them

they explicitly said in their letter to me that they have had problems in Switzerland, that they were unable to state officially that the benefits that I'm entitled to under their policy are equivalent to those required by Swiss law, and that it depends very much on the Canton. They went on to say something like "you may well need to leave BUPA if this doesn't work - if that happens then its been good to know you"
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Old 23.09.2007, 16:44
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

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The basic Swiss insurance does cover you while abroad for emergency treatment. See this. You can also increase your cover by buying supplementary cover or you can buy travel insurance (assurance Voyages) which most companies offer.
My problem is slightly different - it's possible for an insurer to argue that I'm resident in any one of 3 or 4 different countries. So a simple travel policy, or even one that covers me abroad but only for emergency treatment, won't work.

That's the beenfit of the BUPA policy - it basically gives me full health insurance in every country in the world
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Old 23.09.2007, 18:50
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

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I had an interesting response from BUPA when I asked them to send me the form saying that I had appropriate health insurance through them

they explicitly said in their letter to me that they have had problems in Switzerland, that they were unable to state officially that the benefits that I'm entitled to under their policy are equivalent to those required by Swiss law, and that it depends very much on the Canton. They went on to say something like "you may well need to leave BUPA if this doesn't work - if that happens then its been good to know you"
BUPA would not be able to confirm that their policy is the equivalent to a normal Swiss Policy because, quite simply, it is not. I am in the process of preparing a new thread with an explanation of how the system works but itís a very complicated subject.

In brief, the insurance here is provided by about 80 companies who, as far as the basic insurance is concerned, have to operate on a non-profit basis and they are supervised by the Federal authorities. The policy conditions, and benefits (LAMal) they offer are all the same and dictated by law. They contribute to a system that offers policyholders full protection in the event of one getting into problems (which has happened) and to various health programmes. They have to accept everybody irrespective of their state of health and cannot load the premium, impose special conditions, or refuse to renew no matter how expensive they may become.

As you will realise, all this is very different to a BUPA policy where the company can dictate all the conditions and benefits and be able to refuse cover, impose special conditions or load premiums as they see fit.
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Old 23.09.2007, 19:56
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

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Itís an interesting position that you describe but I would suggest that you check carefully that you are, in fact, still covered under the German insurance. Presumably you have moved your residence from Germany to Switzerland in which case are you sure that your German cover is still valid ? If you move your residence out of the UK your entitlement to the health service stops after 3 months. Iím not saying itís the same for German but, in your own interest, do make absolutely sure.
In the case of your children, if they are covered under the Swiss scheme then they are entitled to a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) under this but you cannot hold a card from two different countries, for obvious reasons, and I think you will find that the German one should be surrendered.
Do be careful and make sure that you are covered and, if in doubt, ask for written confirmation. An example of this is the two previous posts Iíve made which refer to the UK system where the Dept. of Health website, under two different sections, there is information which appears to contradict the other.
Blonaybear,
at first I couldn't believe it myself, but it works!
In my maternity leave I can choose wherever I reside, I just have to tell my employer. I had to tell my German health insurance of the change of address and then sort it all out with the Swiss "Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG". They gave me a Swiss insurance card, I hand in all my bills to them and they sort it all out with my German health insurance. The children at the moment are insured in both countries, whether possible or not, as we have seen doctors here via their Swiss cards and back in Germany via their German cards.
I don't know if you could so a similar thing coming from the UK, but it definitely works from Germany and from Sweden, a Swedish friend of mine did it in exactly the same way.
I was told that this arrangement will benefit me for my pensions as well, because I'm technically still employed and not "just" a housewife over here...
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Old 23.09.2007, 20:53
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

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Blonaybear,
at first I couldn't believe it myself, but it works!
In my maternity leave I can choose wherever I reside, I just have to tell my employer. I had to tell my German health insurance of the change of address and then sort it all out with the Swiss "Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG". They gave me a Swiss insurance card, I hand in all my bills to them and they sort it all out with my German health insurance. The children at the moment are insured in both countries, whether possible or not, as we have seen doctors here via their Swiss cards and back in Germany via their German cards.
I don't know if you could so a similar thing coming from the UK, but it definitely works from Germany and from Sweden, a Swedish friend of mine did it in exactly the same way.
I was told that this arrangement will benefit me for my pensions as well, because I'm technically still employed and not "just" a housewife over here...
That's very interesting. My main point was to suggest that you check that you are, indeed, insured correctly as there was a documentary on UK TV recently about Brit ex-pats going to live abroad in another EU country and assuming that their UK EHIC would cover them. Only after they had incurred some very large medical bills (emergency operations) did they find out that they were not covered as they had been out of the UK for more than 3 months and obtained residents permits in another country. Quite how they expected the UK health system to pay for their treatment when they were no longer contributing was not explained !
There appears to be a lot of variations as to how the EHIC is applied by each country and in the case of the UK you can, under certain conditions, get cover for one year if you leave to work abroad. See this. You have to continue to pay UK NHI of course.
I'm interested to know when you give a bill to the "Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG" if they reimburse you or does it come from the German insurer ?
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Old 24.09.2007, 15:39
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

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That's very interesting. My main point was to suggest that you check that you are, indeed, insured correctly as there was a documentary on UK TV recently about Brit ex-pats going to live abroad in another EU country and assuming that their UK EHIC would cover them. Only after they had incurred some very large medical bills (emergency operations) did they find out that they were not covered as they had been out of the UK for more than 3 months and obtained residents permits in another country. Quite how they expected the UK health system to pay for their treatment when they were no longer contributing was not explained !
There appears to be a lot of variations as to how the EHIC is applied by each country and in the case of the UK you can, under certain conditions, get cover for one year if you leave to work abroad. See this. You have to continue to pay UK NHI of course.
I'm interested to know when you give a bill to the "Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG" if they reimburse you or does it come from the German insurer ?
I am reimbursed by the Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG, but as the whole insurance thing is some intergovernmental agreement they then get their money back from my insurance in Germany. I have to point out again that I am in a "special" situation as an employee in Germany currently on maternity leave.
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Old 28.06.2013, 02:30
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Re: Tip for people who want to keep EU health insurance

I've got my Dutch insurance from Netherlands that offers me a good coverage in switzerland (tried it already)

I took the copy of my european insurance card to canton and they granted me the exemption.

But now my employer tells me i should give it up and join one or another swiss club they have agreement with.

Is that actually something that i can refuse by just showing a proof of my dutch european insurance card?

How should i go about it? Any tips?

Thanks!
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