Choosing Health Insurance in Germany

Things to Consider When Choosing Health Insurance in Germany

If you are moving to Germany, we can help you with the daunting task of picking healthcare insurance that suits your medical needs. Here are the things that expats should consider before choosing health insurance in Germany.

Who would not like living in a highly developed, clean, and orderly country where everything runs on time, people respect the environment, and infrastructure is great? If you are planning to move to Germany, you are in for a truly incredible experience in a country where up to 46% of power comes from clean energy sources. Apart from all these perks, Germans believe in an “all for one, one for all” health care approach.

Back in the day, German craftsmen used a great way to keep their team members healthy. They paid into one account and used the money if someone needed medical attention for a certain condition and suffered financial hardship.

The ideology still lives in their healthcare system since 84.5% of health spending is funded by the people living or working there. There are two types of healthcare insurances in Germany- public and private. While most people are insured under one of them, many people use private supplementary cover to “upgrade” the public health care insurance to get all the perks of private insurance missing from a public insurance policy.

Your Income

Most public health insurance providers charge 14.6% of your gross income as the basic premium. Your income plays a vital role in what kind of health insurance you can take. If you are earning less than €64,350 per year or €5,362 per month, you must be a part of the government health system. Also known as Statutory Health Insurance or Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (GKV), this non-profit insurance covers almost 90% of Germany’s people.

Administered by a team of 103 Krankenkassen in 2021 (non-profit insurers are legally obliged to accept insurance applications and sell GKV health insurance to the Germans or expats in Germany if they earn under the threshold of 64,350€ per year or are not self-employed), the public health insurance in Germany costs 14.6% of your gross income plus a supplemental charge of roughly 1.1% depending on the chosen provider. The cap set for maximum monthly income remains €4,837 per month in 2021. In case you start earning more than the set threshold, you are not required to pay a higher premium. For instance, if you pay the maximum insurance premium, which will be €770 for the income threshold this year, you will be required to pay €385, whereas your employer will be paying €385.

While 90% of the German population is insured under public health insurance, around 10% have private Krankenversicherung (PKV). There are around 40 private health insurers in Germany that charge premiums according to your entry age, your current health state, and the level of health insurance cover that you would like.

Pre-Existing Health Conditions

When you go for public health insurance, pre-existing medical conditions will never be an issue. However, it can make a huge difference when you sign up for private health insurance. While private health insurers cannot deny insuring anyone with a pre-existing condition due to the defined rules, they can however charge an extra risk premium or only offer very basic cover in line with the public insurance.

Medical Benefits

Public health insurance in Germany covers the following medical benefits:

  • In-patient care as a ward patient in a hospital
  • Out-patient care from a general practitioner or specialist (such as a gynaecologist)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Basic dental care
  • Pregnancy care
  • Employee sick note
  • Statutory Sick Pay when the employer’s duty to pay it is over (up to 90% of your net salary)

Private health insurance coverage also gives you a ton of benefits. It covers everything offered under the statutory health insurance plan alongside providing access to all the sectors of the German healthcare system. It includes doctor visits, health checks, specialist treatments, dentistry, hospital treatment, prescription & medicines, single or double rooms in hospitals, and more. You can tailor your health insurance privately as per your requirements and pick any of the following additional benefits to include in your plan:

  • Additional dental care such as a professional dental cleaning
  • Consultation doctors
  • Private hospital rooms
  • Sickness or child sickness benefits
  • Rather than a family doctor, get direct access to specialists
  • Alternative medicine
  • Fixed-rate premiums with zero impact of your increasing age
  • Reduced voluntary excess

How Family Insurance Works

If you have statutory health insurance coverage, your family members, including kids and spouse, are also eligible for free-of-cost insurance under certain conditions. If your partner or children are not earning an income themselves of more than 450€ per month, they can be covered under your insurance coverage.

Switching Your Insurance Provider

Even if you start earning more due to a salary raise, the monthly premium will remain the same. While the minimum period for government health insurance with any Krankenkasse is 18 months before you can switch to another public insurer, you can switch to a private health insurer with a 2-month notice period if you are eligible.

It’s Importance

It’s common to see non-Germans treating health insurance as a commodity to buy for a low price to be eligible to live in Germany. The purpose of getting you and your family insured is the vital financial support it can offer you when time is harsh. If you are going to Germany for some time and want health insurance, avoid limited-term policies. These policies come without medical underwriting requirements and thus, do not cover any pre-existing problems that may disturb you during your stay.

Even if there’s a minute possibility that you may have a more extended stay than the limited contractual term and your health insurance expires, it may get complex and expensive for you to get a new contract in Germany. Check the various benefit levels that private health insurance companies offer and pick your plan wisely


Here we conclude the things you may have to consider before getting health insurance coverage in Germany. Make sure to stay insured as an expat in Germany to avoid any unpleasant surprises and complications when reapplying for your visa.

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