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Health Insurance in Germany

The New Expats Guide to Health Insurance in Germany

 

Did you know that health insurance in Germany ranks number 12 worldwide, and the Euro Health Consumer Index puts it at the top of European countries due to its extensive range of recovery measures?

What makes German health insurance incredible is that you have full access to the healthcare system as an expat in the country, like every other German citizen. Moreover, Germany also requires you to show proof of health insurance while applying for a German visa.

So, let’s explore the German healthcare system and all you need to know to secure a health insurance plan as a new expat in the country:

What to Expect from Health Insurance in Germany

In Germany, health insurance is an obligation, i.e., all residents and expats are required to have some form of medical insurance in Germany. You can register with public health insurance (GVK) or private health insurance. Alternatively, you can choose GVK with supplemental private medical insurance.

Private vs. Statutory Health Insurance in Germany

So, what is the best health insurance in Germany? The answer is entirely dependent on you. That said, most German residents choose public health insurance as the private one requires you to be self-employed, non-eligible for public healthcare, earn more than the required salary threshold, and more. 

The significant difference between these two insurance types is that the bills in public insurance go directly to the insurance company. Still, the privately-insured individuals have to pay the medical bill and then receive reimbursement from the insurance provider. 

What Does Public Health Insurance Cover?

Statutory or public health insurance covers you for the following events:

  • Regular check-ups
  • Medical examination by a registered doctor
  • In- and out-patient care at a hospital
  • Certified sick notes
  • Prescription drugs
  • Pregnancy care
  • Health insurance for non-working dependents, such as children up to a certain age, spouse, and civil partner
  • Statutory sick pay (the employer will pay your wages of up to 6 weeks, and then you can continue to receive 70% of your net salary for a maximum of 78 weeks.

In Germany, public health insurance doesn’t cover prescription glasses or lenses, private hospital room treatment, alternative treatments, dental implants, and consultation hours with private doctors.

As a German citizen or expat living in the country, you need to join an insurance plan. Public/statutory health insurance is the standard plan for anyone earning less than 64,350€ every year. The cost of statutory health insurance will depend entirely on your salary. You will only have to contribute if you earn more than 850 euros a month. 

The health insurance contribution is 14.6% of your gross monthly income. You will have to pay this rate to any public health insurance provider.

However, the great news is that your employer will share half the contribution, i.e., they will have to pay 7.3% of your gross monthly salary with a cap of 4,687.5 euros each month. Your part of the contribution will get deducted from your salary every month. 

All You Need to Know About Private Health Insurance in Germany?

When it comes to private health insurance, you have great packages to choose from, determined by your budget and needs. You can go for the most expensive or the cheapest private health insurance in Germany. Whether you can switch from state to private insurance will depend on your employment status. If you earn more than €64,350 each year, you can apply for a private health insurance plan. 

But if you’re self-employed and earn more than the threshold, you can switch to private insurance. It works best for younger individuals with fewer health issues and significant salaries.

It’s because private insurance premiums are determined by personal factors, such as age, health risks, and family members on the plan. 

With that said, private health insurance does offer more extensive services and lower waiting times. You will also have access to doctors who are not available under a public insurance policy. Since these doctors only see private patients, it results in shorter waiting times. You can also look for a doctor who speaks your language. 

But private insurance in Germany doesn’t cover partners or children for free. Moreover, it requires you to pay the doctor’s fee upfront and then seek reimbursement later, which means you might have to remain on a tight budget after paying a hefty medical bill and waiting for the reimbursement. That said, you will likely get the total amount.

If you want to reduce your monthly premiums, you can choose a deduction fee, i.e., opt for a certain amount that you can pay for your treatments each year. Moreover, you are not obliged to stay with a company for 18 months in private insurance, but each insurance company might have different terms.

Now that you know about both types of insurance, you need to decide which insurance plan works best for you, depending on your salary, needs, and specific budget.

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