Paying Hospital Bills

How Do Expats Get Health Insurance in Germany?

Expatriates living in Germany are eligible for state healthcare plans that are funded by social security contributions. Even though the state-sanctioned expat health insurance in Germany is pretty reasonable, if you’re earning well, you might benefit more from private health insurance. 

The German Healthcare System 

Health insurance in Germany is inarguably one of the best around the world. All expats working in the country can access state-supported state healthcare. However, it is mandatory for German residents to have a health insurance plan. 

So, once you become a German resident, you will need to register with a state-sanctioned health insurance scheme known as gesetzliche Krankenkasse, GKV, or a private health insurance scheme known as private Krankenversicherung, PKV. 

Why Do You Need Health Insurance in Germany?

It’s mandatory in Germany for people to show proof of health insurance when applying for a German visa. Most workers remain on their state health insurance in Germany, but you can also opt for private health insurance. Regardless of the policy you have, you and your employer will have to split the contributions.  

State/Public Health Insurance in Germany

The state healthcare scheme in Germany covers almost 90% of its residents. EU and non-EU nationals working in the country should have statutory sickness insurance. The state policy is ideal for covering people who earn less than €64,350 per year. In certain conditions, the policy also covers your spouses, civil partners, and children (up to 23-years-of-age.) Unless their income doesn’t exceed €415–450 per month, they don’t need to pay any contributions. Pensioners are also eligible for state healthcare. 

Here are health insurance criteria for various individuals:


Today, self-employed individuals pay their health insurance contributions on a projected monthly earning of €1,038. It greatly benefits lower-income earners. 


As a student above 25 studying in a state-approved education institute, you will have to pay a health and nursing care premium. The current premium is about €80 per month if you don’t have children. After you turn 30, the premiums will increase by €50 per month. Overseas grad students not covered by their country’s policy can access health insurance from about €25-€30 per month.

Foreign Visitors

EU, EEA, and Switzerland citizens traveling for a short while are allowed health care if they have EHIC before arriving in the country. If you plan to work or stay more than a year, it’s best to arrange health insurance in Germany. Transient visitors from outside the EU can also claim state healthcare under a mutual agreement with their nation. Otherwise, they might have to pay for healthcare services.

What Does German Public Health Insurance Cover?

Here’s everything Germany’s healthcare covers:

  • Inpatient care at the nearest hospital
  • Outpatient care from doctors
  • Limited specialist care
  • Limited mental healthcare
  • Basic costs of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Routine dental procedures (filling, dental hygiene, etc.)
  • Partial coverage for major dental work
  • Sickness benefit (your employer will pay your wages for up to six weeks, the health insurer will pay 70% of your regular salary for 78 weeks)

How to Apply for German Health Insurance

You can apply for Germany’s healthcare scheme through your employer, who will register you with a regional health insurance company. But you can choose your preferred insurer as well. Just inform your employer about your choice within two weeks of starting your job. 

If you’re self-employed, you need to take your passport and residence permit to a regional office and fill out the required registration forms. Make sure to choose an insurer whose contribution rate, ease of contact, supplemental services, and other offers align with your goals. Once you’re insured, the health insurer will issue you an insurance card that you’ll have to show at the hospital on each visit. 

German Private Health Insurance 

As a well-earning self-employed individual or a salaried individual with monthly earnings of more than €5,063, you can look for private health insurance in Germany. But private insurance premiums are based on multiple factors, and the prices increase with health risks, age, and more family members. It’s a great option for a young, well-earning expat in Germany. 

However, if you suffer from serious or chronic health issues, it’s better if you stick to the public healthcare scheme. If you want to change your insurance company, you can do so by giving two months’ notice before the end of the typical 18-month expiry date of the membership.  

Benefits of Private Health Insurance

Here are some benefits of choosing private health insurance in Germany: 

  • More covered services, specialist treatments
  • Private rooms
  • Shorter waiting times
  • More English-speaking doctors

How Does Private Insurance Work in Germany?

If you choose private health insurance, you’ll have to pay your doctor’s fee upfront and claim reimbursement later. You will get the full reimbursement based on your premium. You can choose your level of deduction fee and select a certain amount each year for your treatments. If you choose a higher excess, you can reduce your monthly payments. Moreover, you’re not obligated to stay with the same company for 18 months. 

If you need help deciding between public and private expat health insurance in Germany, MW Expat can help you make the right decision. We have the experience and knowledge required to answer all your questions and dispel all your doubts. So, if you need sound advice and guidance in choosing the right health insurance plan, get in touch with us today

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