Think of complementary health insurance plans like a dinner menu with many choices. On the menu you can pick and choose what you’d like to have in your plan according to your lifestyle and specific healthcare preferences and requirements.
Certain basic complementary plans are almost obligatory. To avoid financial strain and unexpected bills that could extend into tens of thousands of francs, it’s ideal to take out additional coverage for:
- Full medical coverage abroad, including repatriation
- Full medical transport
- Full coverage in hospitals outside your canton of residence
Private or Public Care?
Remember obligatory LAMal coverage only fully covers costs associated with stays in the common ward of the public hospital in your Canton of residence. You must subscribe to a private or semi-private complementary plan to remain free to choose your doctor, surgeon, specialist, and clinic or hospital. Other cheaper plans will cover you fully for the common ward of public hospitals outside your Canton of residence.
If you participate in sports, outdoor activities, cycle or use a scooter or motorbike, private (or semi-private) accident coverage with free choice of doctor and hospital will guarantee you the best possible care in case of injury.
If you do regular check-ups, go to fitness classes or follow your nutrition a plan that covers preventive medicine and care should be considered.
If you suffer from back and joint pain or stress sensitivity, you may wish to consider a plan that covers osteopathy, massages, and techniques such as acupuncture.
Some plans cover alternative or “natural” medicine, including plant therapy (phytothérapie), bio-resonance, cranio-sacral therapy, shiatsu, reflexology, Chinese medicine, lymphatic drainage, and more.
Each health insurance provider has its own specific list of plans and each plan has its own general conditions. Make sure your doctor or therapist is covered by the plan you choose. For your LAMal plan choice, check that your doctor is on the “DELTA” list if this option is chosen. The “Delta Network” (réseau Delta) is a network of independent generalists or internists who work in private practices or medical centres. If you choose an alternative LAMal model, many health insurance companies will ask you to choose a doctor who is a member of this network. For your complementary insurance choice, does your chosen provider cover RME and ASCA affiliated therapists? “ASCA” and “RME” are two competing entities that deliver the qualifications required to practice as a qualified complementary or natural therapist. Most plans only cover RME, which will greatly limit your choice.
Swiss healthcare is high quality, but all citizens are not equal. Remember, under the obligatory LAMal healthcare plan, patients are covered for public hospital care in a shared room, meaning that they cannot benefit from the specialists and extra beds in the private clinics. Those with complementary private or semi-private care benefit from free choice of doctor, specialist and hospital. They will usually be operated within 48 hours with little or no waiting list. Under the LAMal coverage, the waiting list can be as long as six weeks (outside of emergencies which require immediate care).