Glasses and contact lenses are becoming more affordable in Switzerland, but they still pose a considerable expense. Fortunately, health insurance policies do cover at least part of the cost.
Glasses and contact lenses: what is covered by compulsory health insurance?
- Up until 2011, Swiss compulsory health insurance policies contributed 180 francs to the cost of eyeglasses and contact lenses every 5 years. However, this coverage is no longer included in basic Swiss health insurance.
- Obligatory health insurance will cover eyeglasses and contact lenses in some exceptional cases. For example, if you require correctional glasses or contact lenses following eye surgery, your compulsory health insurance policy may cover the cost up to a maximum of 630 francs per eye. Optical aids must be prescribed by a doctor.
- For children (up to 18 years old), the obligatory health insurance pays a benefit of 180 francs per year towards prescription glasses and contact lenses. These may be prescribed by an optometrist or an eye doctor.
- In the case of specific eye illnesses, such as astigmatism, Swiss compulsory health insurance pays a benefit of up to 630 francs per eye for necessary contact lenses, regardless of the policyholder’s age. A doctor’s prescription is required in order to get this coverage.
- As with other claims, your policy’s deductible and coinsurance apply to prescription glasses and contact lenses.
Glasses and contact lenses: What is covered by supplementary health insurance?
- A number of policies from various Swiss health insurance providers provide benefits towards the cost of eyeglasses and contact lenses.
- Different policies provide very different levels of coverage. You can compare the visual aid benefits provided by insurance policies using the supplemental health insurance comparison on moneyland.ch. Use the criteria “glasses and contact lenses” to filter and sort policies based on the coverage they provide.
- Supplementary health insurance policies which provide this coverage usually limit it to between 100 and 200 francs per year. Some cover a percentage of the costs of glasses and contact lenses. Policies like Wincare Diversa Komfort, Concordia Diversa, Groupe Mutuel Bonus, Sympany Premium natura or Swica Completa Top provide this benefit every three years, rather than annually, though the benefit is generally higher. This means you could, for example, get a larger part of the cost of higher-end eyeglasses covered, but less frequently.
- Some insurance providers, including KPT, only provide this benefit to policyholders after a qualifying period, which can be as long as one year. That means you will have to have been a policyholder for a certain amount of time before you can take advantage of the glasses/contact lenses benefit.
- If all you want is to cover the cost of your glasses and contact lenses, the benefits of a supplementary insurance policy will be marginal, at best. But if you consider all of the benefits provided by the policy, the value for money becomes more obvious.
- Example: A supplemental health insurance policy has premiums totaling 300 francs per year and the insurance pays out 200 francs towards the cost of your yearly pair of new glasses. So in effect, you are paying just 100 francs per year for the rest of the insurance benefits, which may include extensive medical coverage outside of Switzerland, ambulance coverage, gym membership and yoga benefits, extensive salary protection and much more.
- Currently, these supplementary insurance policies provide some of the best eyeglass and contact lens benefits: ÖKK Family (benefit of 200 francs per year), KPT (200 francs per year, after one-year qualifying period), CSS myFlex Premium (300 francs per year), CSS MyFlex Balance (150 francs per year), Helsana Completa (90%, up to 300 francs per year), Helsana Top (90%, up to 150 francs per year), Atupri Mivita extensa (50%, maximum of 400 francs per year), Atupri Mivita reala (50%, maximum of 300 francs per year).