Costs for aesthetic surgery are usually to be born by the patient in Switzerland, but there has been a surge in the number of people who try to scam their health insurance companies, online news site Le Matin reported.
The majority of fraud attempts are taking place with the cooperation of foreign establishments and practitioners.
“Every year we find from 20 to 25 cases of attempted insurance fraud involving plastic surgery carried out abroad,” Tobais Nussbaum, spokesman for the insurance company SWICA told newspaper NZZ am Sonntag, Le Matin reported.
Instances of insurance fraud are reportedly increasing, in part due to the increase in popularity of plastic surgery. Insurance company CSS is recording at least one scam per month, with the majority of cases coming from Brazil.
“Mostly it is breast augmentation or nose procedures which are dressed up as emergency operations," Sandra Winterberg told NZZ am Sonntag.
Eye surgery is also common.
Cataracts and even cancers have been invented to justify interventions, usually in collaboration with the foreign hospitals and doctors.
Luckily the scams are not too difficult to uncover – “we often just ask for radiograms or other evidence,” a CSS spokesman said.
Where fraud is uncovered, the patient is usually required to pay the costs of the insurance company’s research. Formal proceedings are usually not taken as the cost involved does not justify the outcome.