Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What to expect when you're Swissing...

Here are a few 'man I wish I had known that earlier' tidbits that may help you, the newly Swissed, when transitioning from foreign climbs to CH.  (Of course, you all may be savvy, and know better, and this doesn't help you one iota. -wish I had known better, too!)

Heath insurance: 

One is expected to purchase health insurance within 90 days of moving to CH.  If health insurance is not selected within that time, then a policy will be selected for you.  In my case, we were hip to this fact and contacted a provider toward the end of July.  There were clarification emails sent back and forth between my hubby and the person handling us regarding personal data.  Again, this activity occurred at the end of July.  In the beginning of August, we received the 'congrats, you're insured' post in the mail.  Shortly thereafter we received the bill (doled out in three month increments) for July, August, and September.  Hmmm.  July?  I hadn't even entered the country until mid-July and we hadn't even received any policy info. until August.  Well, if you make the call/send the email in a given month, then the frickin' policy will be activated during said month and retroactively billed to include the entire month.  I call 'bullshit' on that, but, when speaking to a person from the insurance company this morning, was told that I had no recourse.  Moral of the story: don't call a Swiss insurance provider at the end of the month.  Call them at the beginning of the month, or tell them that you'd like the policy to begin the following month.  Don't (naively) assume that they'll do the right thing and not charge for time one wasn't even in the country.  Thanks, CH health insurance provider!

Moving house: 

Up until recently, there were only two times during the year a tenant could legally leave his rental property: April 1 and October 1.  The tenant was required to give three months' notice to boot.  A supposed 'pro' to this situation is that the landlord may also only impose rent increases twice annually.  Whoopie-doo!  I find this inflexibility with respect to moving and notice-giving quite rigid.  From what I've read, these 'official' moving dates are no longer law, but most folk yet abide by them.  If this isn't your cup of tea, then talk to your potential landlord about altering the rental agreement, so that you are free to give notice at any time during the year.  I certainly wish we had known to do so.  It would have saved us from paying double rent while feebling looking for a new sub-tenant on a place we recently vacated!  If what I've written doesn't make 100% sense, then check out these somewhat helpful websites:

Registering in your new district

Tailoring your rental agreement


  1. Sounds complicated. In regards to the health insurance thing, I hope it's more affordable there than here in the states, being as it's required and all. Sometimes I wish we were like other countries.

  2. Yeah, I was uninsured for years as a waitress/bartender and that never felt good. 'What if something bad happens?' was a constant thought in my head. Or I stayed too long at the one bar job that offered basic insurance only because of the insurance even though I grew to hate the job. How many of us are in that boat?

  3. Okay, the hubs talked to the insurance provider and was told that one must be insured from the moment one steps into CH. That means that all insurance purchased days, weeks, months out is retroactively billed to the time one arrives in country. My visa is valid from July 1st, however I was not in country til mid-month. Regardless, the authorities assume that one is in CH by the Einreisedatum/entry date, even if that's not correct and is billed accordingly. :S


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