Supplemental health insurance

Glasses – when is it worth taking out supplemental insurance?

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Glasses are an expensive business. However, as of 2011, basic health insurance only covers a proportion of the cost of glasses and contact lenses, and only under certain conditions. It may therefore be a good idea to take out supplemental insurance.

Comparis answers key questions on the subject of supplemental insurance for visual aids.

Will basic insurance cover the cost of glasses and contact lenses?

Only under certain conditions. Basic health insurance stopped paying routine contributions for glasses and contact lenses as of 1 January 2011. Before this date, all wearers of glasses received a contribution of 180 francs every five years. Children and adolescents even received this amount annually.

If you wish to receive a contribution towards new glasses or contact lenses from your health insurance, you will need to consider a supplemental insurance policy.

In which exceptional cases will basic insurance cover the cost of glasses or contact lenses?

Basic health insurance will pay out for corrective eyewear in the following circumstances:

Where there is an underlying medical cause

If the sight problem is caused by an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, cataracts, eye muscle disorders, amblyopia, medication use or eye operations (e.g. for glaucoma), basic insurance covers the cost at the approved inpatient or outpatient rate in each case.

Children under the age of 18

If your child needs glasses before the age of 18, basic health insurance will pay a maximum of 180 francs per calendar year, minus the deductible and coinsurance. The glasses must be prescribed by a doctor.

How much will supplemental glasses insurance pay?

Depending on the insurer, you can expect a contribution of 150 to 200 francs per year for necessary visual aids.

When should I take out supplemental glasses insurance?

Note that there is no such thing as a supplemental insurance plan exclusively for glasses and contact lenses. This cover is only offered as part of a package that will include other benefits like gym membership, alternative medicine and antenatal classes.

It is not worth taking out this kind of comprehensive package simply to get a contribution for your glasses or contact lenses, especially considering that the annual cover is usually limited to 150 to 200 francs.


The monthly premium for supplemental insurance is 10 francs. This equals an annual payment of 120 francs. The insurer would pay 150 francs towards a pair of glasses per year (note that this amount cannot be cumulated over several years). If you choose a cheap pair of glasses, costing around 200 francs, you would have paid 120 francs in premiums and saved just 30 francs (150-120=30) on your purchase.

But you can also consider this from another angle: if you prefer more extensive cover, you may well appreciate the generous slew of benefits that comes with these supplemental insurance packages – while still receiving a contribution towards a new pair of specs.

How much does supplemental glasses insurance cost?

Supplemental insurance is available from as little as 10 francs per month. It’s well worth comparing.

What should I bear in mind before taking out supplemental glasses insurance?

Consider the following tips before settling on a particular deal:

Tip 1: Check the package of benefits

Check the details of the benefits package you are taking out that includes insurance for glasses and contact lenses. Does this package offer a combination of benefits that will be of use to you?

Tip 2: Check the maximum contribution

Be sure to check the maximum amount the insurer will pay out. Will the annual contribution offered by the insurer (usually around 150 francs) be enough for your needs?

Tip 3: Consider the policy period

The duration of the insurance contract can be up to 5 years. Are you happy to tie yourself into a long-term insurance policy, or would you prefer to retain some flexibility?

Tip 4: Compare premiums and cover

It’s well worth comparing. You should always compare the premiums and cover offered by the different insurance companies. Could you be paying over the odds for your insurance?

Tip 5: Separate basic and supplemental insurance

One way to save money is to take out basic and supplemental insurance separately. You do not necessarily have to take out basic insurance and supplemental insurance with the same insurance provider.

Can I be rejected by a supplemental insurance provider?

Yes. Unlike with basic insurance, health insurance companies are within their rights to turn down your application for supplemental insurance. The decision depends mainly on the health declaration (questionnaire on illnesses and treatments in recent years), which the supplemental insurance applicant must fill out truthfully.

You should only switch providers when you have been unconditionally accepted by your new insurer.

When should I take out supplemental insurance?

Ideally, you should act sooner rather than later. If you are fit and healthy, you are less likely to be turned down on the basis of your health questionnaire. In addition, you could consider supplemental insurance as a kind of life insurance that you can also finance when you are older. Anyone who is healthy and would like to stay that way can also benefit from the health-promoting measures available under supplemental insurance.

Is it worth taking out supplemental glasses insurance for children?

Find out in our Comparis article “Health insurance pays for childrens' glasses and contacts”.