In Switzerland, you can take out supplementary hospital insurance to complement the coverage provided by your compulsory health insurance policy. This optional insurance covers the cost of services that are not covered by your basic health insurance. Different types of hospital insurance are available, including general ward, semi-private ward and private ward policies.
Additional hospital insurance types like the flex model and hospitality model are also offered. Premium-lowering options like limiting covered hospitals, getting claim-free discounts or raising your deductible provide additional flexibility.
Is supplementary Swiss hospital insurance really necessary?
Unlike basic health insurance, getting supplementary hospital insurance is not obligatory. However, depending on your healthcare needs, getting this coverage can make financial sense. Before you go ahead and take out a hospital insurance policy, take a moment to go over these points.
Hospital insurance: 15 tips for choosing the right coverage
- Is being able to choose which doctor you will be treated by important to you? If it is, a semi-private or private ward policy may be worth it. Just note that these policies can come with limitations. Find out which hospitals are eligible for the free choice of doctor benefit from a prospective insurance provider before you sign up. The moneyland.ch comparison integrates more than 40 relevant Swiss hospitals and clinics, including clinics operated by the Hirslanden Hospital Group and Swiss Medical Networks (SMN). You can filter the comparison results by specific hospitals covered.
- Before signing up for hospital insurance, take time to consider which features of hospital stays are most important to you. General ward insurance is relatively cheap, but getting semi-private or private ward insurance can put a lot of pressure on your pocketbook.
- The premiums you pay for the exact same coverage can vary in a big way from one policy to another. A hospital insurance comparison is the easiest way to find the best-value coverage. It is also worth comparing premiums for different age brackets, to find out whether a policy is really the best long-term choice.
- Are comfort and privacy important to you? Then semi-private ward (2-bed room) or private ward (1-bed room) coverage can provide these benefits. If you don’t see the need to choose which of a hospital’s doctors will treat you, then a hospitality policy may be all you need. This lets you enjoy the comfort of a semi-private or private ward, but does not include the choice-of-doctor benefit. Premiums can be up to 80 percent lower than those charged for semi-private or private ward policies (which give you free choice of doctor).
- If you think that you may want the option of free choice of doctor or more comfortable accommodations, depending on what type of treatment you will be undergoing, then consider getting a flex hospital insurance policy. Flex insurance lets you choose between general, semi-private or private ward treatment at the time that you check in to the hospital. This type of policy can work out a lot cheaper than private ward insurance. Just make sure to check into possible limitations in the number of hospitals covered, and differences in out-of-pocket-costs.
- The premiums of many private and semi-private ward hospital insurance policies may be drastically lowered (up to 70 percent) when you choose a higher deductible or a higher coinsurance ratio. Example: Choosing a deductible (the part of expenses you pay before the insurance kicks in) of CHF 1000 may give you a 15% discount on premiums, while choosing a CHF 10,000 deductible could get you a 70% discount on premiums. So choosing a higher deductible means you will pay lower premiums, but you will have to cover more of the hospital expenses out of your own pocket.
- Another way to save on premiums (up to 25 percent) on hospital insurance is to limit coverage to a specific selection of hospitals. Important: Partnerships between insurers and hospitals are prone to changes.
- Many hospital insurance policies come with claim-free discounts. Depending on the policy, you can save up to 50 percent on premiums by not making any claims within a predefined time frame. The exact terms and conditions attached to getting these discounts are key in deciding whether they actually pay off.
- Discounts are often provided when you take out a multiple-year policy. Just note that if you take out a long-term contract, you will have to stick with that policy over the given time frame.
- Excluding accident insurance coverage normally reduces your premium by 10 percent.
- Additionally, many insurers offer family discounts.
- Look into whether or not you can cancel a premium-saving option if you so choose. Depending on your health, insurance providers may not allow you to cancel premium-saving riders, or they may put restrictions in place.
- As a general rule: always read the fine print before signing on the dotted line. A policy’s terms and conditions may place major limitations on your choices of doctors and hospitals, or stipulate high out-of-pocket costs.
- Check into membership-based discounts. Many health insurance providers have partnerships with numerous companies and associations. Members of partner organizations can receive special discounts or benefits.
- Many hospital insurance policies require that you remain a policyholder for a certain amount of time before you claim maternity benefits (pregnancy, birth). This period can be as long as one year. Your insurance provider will only provide that coverage after the qualifying period.
The moneyland.ch team