Comparison of supplemental insurance in Switzerland 2023

There is a range of supplemental insurance products available. Which ones make sense for you depends on your individual needs. Comparis has some tips about supplemental insurance.

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Supplemental insurance made simple

Supplemental insurance pays for treatment and benefits that are not covered by basic insurance. Different health insurance providers offer different types of supplemental insurance. Premiums for this sort of insurance may vary according to your age and gender. Insurers may also impose restrictions or turn down applicants without giving a reason.

What types of supplemental insurance make sense?


When do I need supplemental insurance?

Taking out supplemental insurance with your health insurance provider gives you additional benefits, such as extra comfort in hospital. It also closes any possible gaps in your basic insurance cover.

The benefits of supplemental insurance products vary from one provider to another. Insurance companies may set their premiums according to risk, i.e. varying according to age and gender, and can exclude or restrict cover for particular health issues. You can find help in choosing the right supplemental insurance in our article about the various supplemental insurance policies.

The two categories supplemental outpatient insurance and supplemental hospital insurance address different needs.

Good to know: basic insurance and supplemental insurance do not have to be taken out with the same provider. However, when supplemental cover is purchased, insurers often ask that basic insurance also be taken out with them. Sometimes they offer discounts for add-on insurances. However, you can easily switch to a different provider for basic insurance later on if you are offered better terms there.

Supplemental insurance: important questions and answers

Basic health insurance is mandatory for all Swiss residents. It meets your basic healthcare needs with high-quality medical services. Benefits at this basic level are determined by law and are the same no matter which insurer you choose. Insurers are obliged to accept all applications for basic insurance, without reservation.

Supplemental insurance offers more benefits, providing you with comfort and flexibility if you fall ill. However, insurance companies aren’t obligated to accept your application for supplemental insurance, and will require you to fill out a health questionnaire. With supplemental health insurance, providers may set their premiums according to risk, i.e. depending on the policyholder’s age and gender. They may also impose restrictions.

Supplemental insurance can be divided into two categories: supplemental outpatient insurance and supplemental hospital insurance.

Supplemental outpatient insurance may include additional cover for alternative medicine, medication not covered by basic insurance and psychotherapy performed by therapists without medical training. Other insurance products cover the following:

  • Measures taken to promote health, such as gym memberships, subscriptions for indoor pools, etc.

  • Immunization and travel vaccinations

  • Spa and convalescent therapies

  • Home nursing care and domestic help

  • Glasses and contact lenses

  • Medical aids

  • Emergency and transfer transportation as well as rescue and recovery costs

  • Dental treatment costs, tooth position corrections and maxillofacial surgery

  • Treatment abroad (including single-trip cover for holidays)

All of these benefits are usually limited to a certain maximum amount per calendar year.

Supplemental hospital insurance covers inpatient treatment. Some insurance models limit the choice of hospitals to a list defined by the insurance company, which leads to lower premiums.

Supplemental insurance for semi-private care throughout Switzerland covers the policyholder for a two-bed room. In hospitals, it is usually the senior physician who is responsible for the treatment of semi-privately insured policyholders.

Supplemental insurance for private care throughout Switzerland covers the policyholder for a one-bed room and a free choice of doctor when in hospital. In hospitals, it is usually the chief physician who is responsible for the treatment of privately insured policyholders.

Flex models: variants of supplemental hospital insurance. Policyholders only choose a ward upon admission. This additional insurance covers the full costs for general wards throughout Switzerland. For the semi-private or private sector, insured persons contribute to the additional costs to the extent determined by the health insurance company.

Hotel models offer the comfort of a one- or two-bed room without free choice of doctor.

General ward throughout Switzerland supplemental insurance covers any extra costs incurred during a stay at a hospital outside your canton of residence. From 1 January 2012, a new hospital financing regime has been introduced. Since then, basic insurance and the policyholder’s canton of residence have fully covered hospital treatment in another canton if the hospital in question is on a hospital list and the costs (per-case flat rate) are no higher than they would have been in the canton of residence. If the per-case flat rate exceeds the corresponding rate in the canton of residence, it has to be paid by the patient or their supplemental insurance. This supplement may still be worthwhile for inhabitants of cantons with low hospital costs who wish to be treated in another canton. As before, basic insurance still covers all treatment that is not available in the canton of residence (transplants, for instance) as well as emergency treatment.

The majority of insurance companies offer their customers the option of a deductible for additional coverage. In return, your premiums are lower. Clarify your individual needs first. Then, take a close look at each insurer’s plan to see which one is the best match. This is important because the supplemental benefits you would like to have are often only available as part of bundles that also include various other benefits. This only pays off for policyholders if the benefits match their needs very closely.

Many policyholders don’t know that they are not required to take out basic and supplemental insurance with the same provider. If you have already done so, you can still easily switch your basic health insurance policy to another provider. In some cases, this could mean that you lose out on discounts you may have on supplemental insurance.

Important: wait until you are definitively accepted for the new supplemental policy (without any provisos) before cancelling your current one, as supplemental health insurance providers may impose certain restrictions.

Please note that most supplemental policies must be cancelled by the end of September – and not by the end of November, as with basic insurance. This means that it can pay off to start comparing policies now. Some supplemental insurance policies have longer cancellation periods and different deadlines for cancellation. Your policy sets out these conditions. A list of the cancellation periods for major insurance companies can be found here.

Types of supplemental insurance

Supplemental dental insurance

Basic insurance only pays for dental and orthodontic treatment that is medically necessary and caused by illness. You need supplemental dental insurance if you want broader cover.

Supplemental hospital insurance

“General ward throughout Switzerland” is the most popular supplemental insurance add-on in Switzerland. Supplemental hospital insurance offers even more options, however, such as private, semi-private and the Flex model.

Complementary medicine

Basic insurance only covers certain methods classified as alternative or complementary medicine, and only if the treatment is provided by doctors who are trained in conventional medicine. More information about supplemental alternative medicine insurance.

Glasses insurance

For adults, basic insurance does not pay anything towards the cost of glasses and contact lenses. Children are entitled to CHF 180 per year. It may be worth considering supplemental glasses insurance.

Yoga, gym memberships and sport

Health insurers offer a range of supplemental insurance products covering sport, health and wellness. This range varies considerably – as do the premiums. Read the article on supplemental insurance for sport and wellness.

Travel insurance

Basic health insurance does not cover the cost of all treatment abroad. That’s why supplemental health insurance also offers cover for healthcare costs abroad. Find out more about the travel insurance option.

Hotel insurance

Health insurance companies also offer what is known as “hotel insurance”. Patients with hotel insurance are accommodated in a one or two-bed room, but do not have a free choice of doctor. In a nutshell, hotel insurance combines the comfort of a private or semi-private supplemental hospital insurance with the medical services of the general ward.

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