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Health For Members

EXPLAINED: What you need to know about dental insurance in Switzerland

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: What you need to know about dental insurance in Switzerland
Everything you need to know about dental insurance in Switzerland. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

A healthy smile is very important to most people but maintaining it can come at a steep price in Switzerland. Here's everything you need to know about paying for a dental insurance, from the cost to what's covered.

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When does basic insurance pay?

It won’t come as much of a surprise that many dental treatments in Switzerland – if not most – are not in fact covered by compulsory basic health insurance. Instead, people are advised to consider getting additional insurance. Still, this does not mean that your basic insurance won’t cover any of your dental treatments.

According to Chapter 5 in the ‘Dental Treatment’ of the Health Care Benefits Ordinance (Articles 17 to 19a), basic insurance will pay for a dental treatment if it:

  1. Is caused by a severe, unavoidable disease of the masticatory system
  2. Is caused by a serious general illness or its consequences
  3. Is necessary for the treatment of a serious illness and its consequences

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Mandatory basic insurance also covers dentists if their work is ‘necessary to support and ensure medical treatment’, for example in the case of a heart valve replacement or radiation therapy.

Lastly, it finances dental treatment that becomes necessary as a result of a congenital defect or an accident.

If your compulsory basic insurance can indeed cover the costs, then your treating dentist can submit a detailed cost estimate to your health insurer which can then examine the request with a trusted dentist.

Should your health insurer give your dentist go-ahead, they can begin the treatment at the former’s cost. The reimbursement will then be made directly between your treating dentist and your health insurer.

When should I take out dental insurance?

Since dental costs are incredibly high in Switzerland and basic insurance will only cover them in exceptional cases, taking out dental insurance is generally considered a smart move at any age. If you have complementary insurance on top of basic then you should check if this covers any dental care and treatment.

By taking out a dental insurance, you can save money, especially when having more complex and hence pricier dental work done such as braces or implants.

However be aware that often the more elderly are excluded from being able to buy dental insurance.

The only time a dental insurance would not make sense is if you do not visit a dentist regularly or cannot afford to make monthly payments. For those on lower wages, it may make sense to apply for an additional subsidy from your health insurance company.

Dental treatment costs in Switzerland:

Tooth filling: 200 to 500 francs

Wisdom tooth extraction: 500 to 800 francs

Root canal: 700 to 1500 francs

Implants: 1,000 to 10,000 francs

Braces: 4,000 to 12,000 francs

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How much does a dental insurance cost?

The costs for taking out a supplemental dental insurance vary greatly and depend on the range of services provided for in your respective contract. Meaning that the waiting period, sum limit, age and condition of the teeth will also be considered when determining the monthly cost.

For adults, insurance usually falls in the range of 30 to 50 francs per month. however if you have a history of costly dental treatment you are likely to have to pay a higher insurance premium.

Kids’ insurance ranges between 10 and 20 francs.

What will my dental insurance cover?

Most contracts are concluded with a view to specific dental needs. However, generally, a supplemental dental insurance in Switzerland covers prophylaxis (tooth cleaning), dental treatment (fillings, root canals), dentures (implants, crowns), and orthodontic measures (braces, retainers).

What do I need to know about the waiting period?

When taking out an insurance in Switzerland you’ll be faced with a so-called waiting period, meaning your new health insurance will not pay any benefits for a certain time frame. The length of this time frame is varies from provider to provider but can last up to eight months.

The waiting period essentially functions as a protective measured for the insurance company to ensure it is not liable for any damage to your teeth that could have occurred or occur prior to the conclusion of the contract.

However, if you would like to forgo this waiting period there are many policies that will insure you right away. The catch? A higher monthly premium.

What if I can't afford dental insurance or I can't purchase it?

One important thing to remember is that for those without insurance - whether it's because you can't afford it or you were rejected buy an insurer, you can discount the cost of your dental treatment from your Swiss tax bill.

 

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