In the past twenty years, premiums for basic health insurance in Switzerland have increased annually by 3.8 percent on average. Yet, despite this steady increase, few residents take action to switch basic health insurance or look for other ways to save money on premiums.
Coinciding with the looming annual deadline for switching health insurance providers, here are three ways to save money on health insurance in Switzerland:
1. Switch basic health insurance providers
Under the Swiss Health Insurance Act of 1996, all providers are obliged to provide the same basic coverage. The differences are in the level of service they provide, how swiftly they pay your claims or in the supplementary insurance offerings. For more information, read our detailed overview of health insurance in Switzerland.
Knowing this, you could simply run a comparison of premiums for the upcoming year. Then, select the provider with the lowest monthly premium for your particular case and call it a day.
Saving money on premiums can be as simple as this. But I recommend taking some additional factors into consideration. For instance, are you keen on having an online account, a 24/7 hotline or even an app to handle your insurance claims? Are you interested in additional policies to cover things like eye-glasses or dental treatments?
Either way, autumn is a good time for due diligence on your current health insurance plan. Before the deadline of November 30, run a comparison of premiums. Once you have selected the least expensive provider for the upcoming year, mail a termination letter to your current insurer and sign up for the new policy.
And if this sounds like too much of a hassle, you could always reach out to the experts at Expat Savvy!
2. Increase your deductible franchise
If you feel healthy and your family does not have any significant health issues, it may be a good idea to increase your deductible amount (Franchise). This means that in those rare events that you do need medical care, you will be paying a higher amount out of pocket before the full coverage kicks in.
For instance, selecting the highest available deductible amount of 2500 francs will have an immediate impact on your premium. A general rule of thumb is to either pick the lowest or highest franchise, but not one in between. Even with medical bills amounting to 1500 francs per calendar year, it is cheaper to pick the highest franchise of 2500 francs. So, it truly "pays" to play around with the franchise amounts as in some cases, the savings between lowest and highest deductible can be up to 50 percent.
3. Change the insurance model
There are four types of basic insurance models, from most to least expensive: Standard, family doctor, HMO and Telmed. Changing from your current model to a lesser model can result in savings of 20 percent - for each downgrade.
Say you are currently in the Standard Model. What if you had to consult with a designated family doctor in your town who would refer you to a specialist? The Hausarzt model can save you 15 to 20 percent off your premium.
The HMO model can result in significant savings of up to 25 percent. It is more suitable for people in urban areas as all services are provided at an HMO center. Having various doctors and specialists under one roof makes the HMO model so efficient.
And finally, the Telmed model requires policy holders to call a hotline for triage. In many cases, the treatment advice over the phone is sufficient. But if seeing a doctor or specialist is deemed necessary, a referral is made over the phone. This model can knock 15 to 20 percent off your premium.
The deadline for switching providers in 2019 is fast approaching: Friday, November 29, 2019.
By law, your current insurance provider has to inform you of the new premiums by end of October. You then have about three weeks of time to request quotes and mail a certified letter of termination to your current provider. Important: The termination letter has to be received by the provider by Friday, November 29, 2019. (It is not the stamped date that counts.)
- Create a termination letter for your current health insurance provider
- Reasons for switching health insurance providers in Switzerland (Expat Savvy)