Alternative Medicine - Complementary Medicine

Alternative medicine: Which treatments are covered by the health insurance?

The terms alternative medicine and complementary medicine refer to treatment methods that do not belong to conventional medicine. These include natural remedies or traditional Chinese medicine. Certain services in the field of alternative medicine are covered by basic health insurance. However, the treatments must be carried out by service providers approved by the health insurance company.

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What complementary medicine measures are covered by the basic health insurance?

Complementary medical methods are often used in addition to conventional medicine. Many insured persons appreciate alternative treatments and medicines because they are considered more gentle than conventional medicine. Since 2017, compulsory health insurance in Switzerland has covered five alternative medical treatment methods. These are:

  • Homeopathy: The guiding principle of homeopathy is "similar is combated with similar". Patients receive a mother tincture with highly diluted active ingredients for treatment. The so-called potentiation is intended to increase the effectiveness of the remedy.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): The centuries-old Chinese medical tradition is based on treatment methods such as acupuncture, massages, movement exercises and special diets.
  • Anthroposophical medicine: Anthroposophical medicine does not consider a single clinical picture, but the human being as a whole. The focus is on a close doctor-patient relationship.
  • Neural therapy: Local anaesthetics are intended to influence the vegetative nervous system and alleviate illnesses at the corresponding part of the body.
  • Phytotherapy: Phytotherapy exclusively uses plants and their active ingredients as remedies. In contrast to homeopathic treatment, the active ingredient is not heavily diluted.


Prerequisites for assumption of costs

The health insurance funds cover the costs of alternative medical treatment if it is carried out by medical specialists who can provide evidence of further training for the chosen therapy method. Naturopathic practitioners are not among the service providers approved by the health insurance funds.

The costs for medicines from the area of complementary medicine are covered by the basic insurance on a pro-rata basis, less a cost sharing. Medicines published by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on its list of specialties are reimbursed. This includes homeopathic preparations, various natural remedies and anthroposophical medicines.

Is it worth taking out supplementary insurance for alternative medicine?

Although the health insurance funds have expanded their services in the field of alternative medicine, it may be worth taking out supplementary insurance. With a good supplementary insurance you can fall back on complementary medical treatments, which you would have to pay for yourself in the basic insurance. In addition, you may also be treated by a naturopath.

If you attach great importance to alternative medicine and are looking for a suitable supplementary insurance, we will be happy to help you. Compare the various supplementary insurances and find an offer that suits your needs.

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