The 10 most frequently asked questions about hospital stays

A hospital stay needs to be carefully planned in advance. Here we explain the best way to prepare, who can assist you with the preparations, and what helpful services are available to you.

Do you need to be admitted to hospital? Then you’ll probably have lots of questions. You might be feeling worried about the operation itself. At the same time, you’ll also have some administrative things to take care of and things to arrange. But don’t worry: with just a little preparation, you’ll be perfectly equipped for your stay in hospital.  

10 frequently asked questions

Here we tell you what to pay special attention to before admission, giving you all the information you need to plan each step of your hospital stay.

With compulsory health insurance (OKP), you are free to choose any hospital in Switzerland that is on the cantonal list of hospitals (known as “listed hospitals”). However, if you choose to be treated at a hospital in a different canton, the costs will only be covered up to the same tariff as in your canton of residence. Any costs above this tariff you will have to pay yourself. However, with our supplementary insurance HOSPITAL Semi-Private or HOSPITAL Private, you will also be covered for higher treatment costs at listed hospitals throughout Switzerland that are recognised by Helsana (“out-of-canton costs”). This means that, with these two types of supplementary insurance, you still benefit from full cover even if the hospital is not on the “List of hospitals and attending physicians without full cost coverage”. They also offer you more comfort and a free choice of doctor. For non-listed hospitals, there may be limits on how much of the cost is covered. 

This depends on the type of insurance cover. With basic insurance, you don’t have the choice. However, with our supplementary insurance HOSPITAL Semi-Private or HOSPITAL Private, you are free to choose the hospital doctor yourself. Even if your preferred doctor or hospital is not on the “List of hospitals and attending physicians without full cost coverage”, you will still be fully covered.

The hospital will send out your admission forms. You should complete and return these as soon as possible. If you need any medications or specific products, please ensure that you take enough with you to last throughout your stay. Let your friends and family know how to contact you. For longer stays, it is worth having your mail redirected or temporarily held. Ask someone you trust to take care of your mail, plants, etc. Pay any bills in advance. Arrange to be dropped off at the hospital and picked up again. If you don’t have anyone to accompany you, our partner the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) offers a patient transport service. 

Red Cross Patient Transport Service (in German)

If you have taken out hospital insurance, you will receive contributions towards various support services – both for planned stays and emergency admissions. This includes household help, childcare service and professional childcare. Basic insurance does not pay anything towards these support services.

You can find out more about the support options for after or during an inpatient hospital stay here

You don’t usually need to worry about paying the bills. The hospital will take care of this with Helsana directly. They will contact you if they have any questions. If you have your basic and supplementary insurance with different health insurers, provide the hospital with the details of both companies in good time.

Rooming-in is a benefit offered by our supplementary insurance HOSPITAL Semi-Private and HOSPITAL Private. It means that a close relative can stay overnight at the hospital with you and get their meals included, too. Many patients enjoy having a familiar face beside them. Some hospitals charge for allowing relatives to stay (food and accommodation). Helsana will cover part of this cost within the insured amount. With HOSPITAL Semi-Private, CHF 100 per day is covered for a maximum of 15 days per year; with HOSPITAL Private, CHF 200 per day is covered for a maximum of 15 days per year.

If you only have basic insurance, you can switch, but you will have to cover the cost of a semi-private ward yourself (room, free choice of doctor). Do you have HOSPITAL ECO supplementary hospital insurance? In that case, part of the upgrade will be covered. We’ll cover 40% of the benefits if you switch from a general ward to a semi-private ward, or 20% of the benefits if you switch from a general ward to a private one. You would still have to make the usual co-payment (hospital cost contribution of CHF 15 per day, deductible and excess). If you are planning to switch, we recommend that you request a cost estimate from the hospital.

If a transfer is necessary on medical grounds, the hospital where you are being treated will cover the transport costs. If you have requested the transfer yourself, you will have to pay.

Part of the transport costs for admission and in an emergency is covered by basic insurance and by some supplementary insurance policies. However, if you do not have supplementary insurance, some costs may not be covered. You would have to pay all costs that are not covered by your insurance.

No. You would have to pay for non-statutory benefits yourself. These include operations listed in the health insurance conditions under “Exclusions of benefits”. You would also have to cover the cost of special forms of treatment yourself if they are not recognised under the basic insurance policy because they are not of clinical significance (e.g. sterilisation, liposuction). As a general rule: in accordance with the Federal Health Insurance Act (KVG), only statutory benefits are covered under basic insurance. In the case of supplementary insurance, the exclusions of benefits go beyond those of the KVG. These are governed in the General Insurance Conditions. You would have to pay any personal expenses (e.g. phone calls, haircuts) yourself. If in doubt, you can ask us in advance whether a benefit would be covered or not.

Would you like a personal consultation?

If you have any questions about your hospital stay, our Case Advisors will be pleased to assist you. They will also check your application for the reimbursement of treatment costs and can help you make difficult decisions. Our Case Advisors can also accompany you from admission through to discharge, if you wish.

More about case advice
Free advice on hospitalisation
0844 80 81 82Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. (Swiss fixed network local rate / mobile rates charged by the provider)

More information about what we offer for your hospital stay

Go to hospital insurance Go to supplementary outpatient insurance

Packing list – what to take with you to the hospital

What do you really need? Only the essentials. Our packing list contains everything that you should take with you.

What happens after your hospital stay?

Once you have a discharge date, you can start thinking about returning home. You might be asking: How will I get home? Will I need help from the hospital? Do I need any medical aids? Will I need rehabilitation? You can discuss these questions with your doctor or the hospital’s welfare officer. Together, they will plan your discharge and make arrangements for home nursing, rehabilitation or anything else you might need. Our assessment management team will also be pleased to help ensure that your discharge goes smoothly.

Do you have questions?

We're here to help.