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Basic health insurance: how can I avoid duplicate insurance cover?

Jul 13, 2022.

The law prevents duplicate compulsory basic health insurance from being taken out. Despite this, duplicate insurance is relatively common, and is an irritating occurrence for those affected. How can you avoid this? How, and by when, do you need to cancel your policy? And what do you need to bear in mind when switching health insurers? Our article explains everything you need to know.

Everyone resident in Switzerland has to take out basic health insurance. If you move to Switzerland, you need to take up health insurance coverage within three months. Even newborn babies need to be covered by a health insurer within three months of their birth, unless the law provides for an exception, although this is very rarely the case.

 

Under normal circumstances, you can cancel at the end of the year

You can normally cancel your basic insurance on an annual basis, with a period of notice of one month to the end of the year. Important: the date on which your notice of cancellation is received by the insurer is decisive, not the postmark. In other words, the period of notice of one month is complied with if your notice of cancellation is received by your health insurer on the last working day of November.

 

We recommend sending your notice of cancellation by registered mail so that you can prove that you cancelled your policy in good time. You can use our “Cancellation of basic health insurance” sample template for this. You should also check whether you have paid all your premiums and cost contributions. This is because you cannot change health insurers if you have outstanding payments due.

 

After you have cancelled your policy, you need to re-insure yourself with a different health insurer without delay. However, if you do not take out a new basic insurance policy in good time, you will automatically remain covered by your previous health insurer.

 

Cancellation with ordinary deductible

The ordinary deductible is the lowest deductible you can choose, at CHF 300.00 for adults and CHF 0.00 for children. If you have free choice of service provider, in addition to this ordinary deductible, then you can also cancel your policy on 30 June. However, a three-month period of notice applies in this case. In other words, your insurer needs to receive your notice of cancellation on the last working day in March, at the latest.

 

To cancel your basic insurance, use our sample template “Cancellation of basic health insurance”.

 

Cancellation when premiums are increased midway through the year

Health insurers normally contact policyholders by the end of October to inform them of their premiums from 1 January of the following year. If you are not satisfied with your new premium, you can cancel your policy at the end of the year, as above. However, an insurer can also raise their premiums midway through the year. If your insurer does this, you are entitled to cancel your policy at the end of the month, before the new premium comes into effect.

 

Example: if your premiums increase on 1 July, your insurer will inform you of this by 30 April. You then have until the end of May to cancel your policy. To do so, use our sample template “Cancellation of basic health insurance”.

 

How to handle duplicate insurance

The law prevents duplicate compulsory basic insurance from being taken out. This is why a new insurance relationship can only come into being once the previous one has come to an end. Despite this, policyholders time and again receive invoices from two health insurers. This is often caused by communication issues between health insurers, as they are responsible for exchanging the necessary information when a policyholder changes insurer.

 

Contact the insurers to clarify the matter. These are the most common causes of duplicate insurance:
 

  • Your previous insurer informs you that you have not cancelled your policy, or have not cancelled it in good time. In this case, you should provide evidence that you sent your notice of cancellation by registered mail. If you did not actually cancel your policy, or did so late, you will remain insured under your previous health insurer. In this case, you cannot switch insurers. You can use our “Cancellation of duplicate health insurance” sample template to cancel your policy with the other insurer.
  • Your new insurer did not inform your old insurer about the fact that they are providing you with health insurance coverage. In this case, you should ask your new health insurer to contact your previous health insurer and coordinate the switch. Until this point, you will remain insured under your previous health insurer and pay their premiums. Your new insurer will be liable for any difference in premiums due to the delay in notification.
  • Do you have unpaid invoices, meaning that you cannot cancel your policy? It might be that your new insurer accepts you anyway. This is generally due to poor communication among insurers. In this case, you must inform your new insurer that you are tied to your old insurer and cannot switch. To do so, use our sample template “Cancellation of duplicate health insurance”.

 

The difference compared to supplementary health insurance

Basic health insurance and supplementary health insurance are based on two different laws. The information above only applies to basic health insurance – not supplementary health insurance.

 

It is perfectly possible and permissible to have duplicate supplementary insurance, and it can even make sense to do so, depending on your needs.

 

The periods of notice and the cancellation dates for supplementary insurance differ from those for basic insurance, too. This means that it is rarely possible to cancel your compulsory basic insurance at the same time as your supplementary insurance. If you have a supplementary insurance policy, you must check the cancellation terms in the policy’s insurance contract.

 

You can use our sample template “Cancellation of supplementary health insurance” as your notice of cancellation.

 

You can find other sample templates for legal issues in our knowledge hub. Simply download them and use them.

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