Glasses – when is supplemental insurance advisable?

She has good reason to laugh – basic health insurance still pays for her glasses.

With a pair of specs costing 200, 500 or even 1000 francs, buying eyewear is an expensive undertaking. How great it would be if health insurance covered at least some of the cost. The trouble is, since 2011 basic insurance no longer pays for glasses – except for children. So that just leaves the option of a supplemental insurance policy. But is such a policy really worth it? 

Those who do not wish to pay for glasses and other visual aids out of their own pocket can take out suitable supplemental insurance. This is available from less than ten Swiss francs a month.

The problem is that there is no such thing as supplementary insurance exclusively for glasses and contact lenses. Insurance companies only offer this particular cover in combination with other benefits, such as psychotherapy, maternity courses, health check-ups, or payment of costs for transportation and rescue. 

Visual aids only covered in wider package of benefits

If you are not keen on taking out such a comprehensive package merely to get some financial contribution towards visual aids, then you can probably give this supplemental insurance a miss – especially if you consider that the annual contribution is usually limited to 150 to 200 francs.

Example: The monthly premium for the supplemental insurance is 10 francs, which equals an annual sum of 120 francs. The insurance company would pay 150 francs per year for the glasses (note that this amount cannot be accumulated over several years). Someone who chooses an inexpensive pair of glasses for around 200 francs will have paid 120 francs in premiums, which means a saving of just 30 francs (150-120 = 30) on the purchase price.

But you can also consider this from another angle. Someone who prefers more comprehensive cover will appreciate the generous slew of benefits that comes with this type of supplemental insurance package – and will receive a payment towards that new pair of glasses to boot. 

What about children?

If your child needs glasses, basic insurance will cover them, just as before. It pays a contribution of 180 francs per calendar year towards the cost of glasses, a benefit that continues until your offspring reaches the age of 18. If this cover is not enough, you can take out appropriate supplemental insurance to bridge the gap.

Four tips on supplemental insurance for glasses

  1. Look closely at the overall package that includes supplemental insurance for glasses. Does the package offer a combination of benefits that fits your needs?
  2. Check the maximum amount the insurer will contribute each year. Is this amount sufficient for your purpose (usually about 150 francs)?
  3. Consider the duration of the policy, which may be up to five years. Do you want to lock yourself in to this supplemental insurance policy in the long term, or would you rather stay flexible?
  4. Compare the premiums and cover offered by the various insurance companies carefully. Are you paying more than necessary for your insurance policy?