Here in Switzerland there is no socialised medical coverage. No NHS, no OHIP, no Obama Care, no nothing. We pay a small fortune every month to the private health insurance company of our choice. Basic coverage is obligatory. If you want extras (such as an ambulance or a pair of glasses from time to time) you need a second “complementary” insurance. Don’t even think about dentists.
Your paperwork must be impeccable as each insurance company employs a team of mean and picky people who find all your mistakes so they don’t have to pay.
Right now is the insurance world’s exciting pre-season. In a few weeks, the companies will announce their increased rates for next year, and you have a small window of time when you can actually change companies. This takes knowledge, organisation, motivation and luck. Musical medical chairs and loads of unpleasant telemarketing. Most of us don’t bother.
I consider myself the picture of health. Of course, I take cheap generic pills for one thing and another, but this is simply to keep my hooligan doctor happy and (as I am hugely competitive) to get good scores on my annual medical exams.
I occasionally drink water and eat fruit and vegetables and strenuously vacuum at least once a month. However, the largest medical insurance company is offering an annual rebate of 146 Swiss francs if I walk 10,000 steps every single day. To qualify and prove my devoted athleticism, I must buy a device for my wrist and send the daily results to them via my smart phone.
You also have to buy their complementary health insurance package, and I have calculated the cost of saving 146 francs to be the following:
- 150 francs (cost of wrist step-measuring device)
- 146 francs (cost of sending 365 sms’s)
- 840 francs (cost of complementary insurance coverage)
TOTAL: 1,136.00 francs and this does not even count the cost of getting your device by taxi to your grand-daughter so she can do your 10,000 steps on those days when you are actually sick.
Obviously, the next logical step is a chip implant. Straight into the jugular. That way the insurance people can see it all: the smoke, the drink, the drugs, the laziness, the grease, the sugar.
Believe me, crime (cheese fondue) and punishment (ever increasing monthly medical premiums) are just around the corner.