How to Insure Your Family in Germany

As an expat coming to Germany, you should know that registering for health insurance is one of the most important things you need to take care of before moving to the country. Health insurance is compulsory for everyone living in Germany. Therefore, if you’re planning to bring your relatives with you, we would like to offer you all the information on how to insure your family in Germany.

How does family insurance work in Germany?

First of all, you should know that there are two main types of health insurance in Germany: public health insurance (or statutory health insurance) and private health insurance (usually known as PKV in German). No matter what kind of insurance you’re registered at, all family members must also be insured.

The German health care system includes certain regulations for family insurance in order to make sure that everyone is equally covered. There is a so-called family co-insurance, in which dependent family members, such as spouses and children, are eligible to enrol for free with the health insurance provider in which the main family member is already insured. This is due to the fact that it is common for family members to remain unemployed for a while after they move to Germany.

Who can benefit from free family co-insurance?

Expats’ partners who receive no income or an income that does not exceed 470 euros per month (as of 2022) are eligible for this aid. In addition, partners who earn 450 euros with a part-time job or find themselves under marginal employment can also be covered at no cost.

Children are normally insured free of charge until they reach the age of 18. However,  this age limit might be raised under certain conditions:

  • If they are unemployed, they can be insured up to 23 years old.
  • If they are still enrolled in school, vocational training or are doing voluntary programs, they can be insured up to 25 years old.
  • If their education was interrupted by military or civilian service, they can be insured over 25 years old.
  • Permanently disabled children do not have an age limit to be covered free of charge.

What are the steps to insure your family in Germany?

Regardless of your relatives’ situation, you will have to fill in and send a form to your health insurance provider to include them in your insurance coverage. In this form, you have to specify the members you want to include, their previous economic situation and their current incomes.

If the family members you are planning to bring to Germany will work in the country, you will have to pay additional costs to insure them. In order to calculate the premium you will pay as a family, your health insurance will evaluate your partner’s gross salary as an employee, including regular annual bonuses; their income as freelancers (if applicable) and their income from investments, rentals or similar, as well as those coming from retirement insurance.

However, this is something your health insurance provider will take care of. You don’t need to worry about anything!

What kinds of insurance should families have?

As a rule of thumb, you should insure everything that could put you in an existential risk as a family. There is a list of different insurances that are not compulsory in Germany, but highly recommended for families.

  • Liability insurance. If you cause damage to someone else, you will be liable for it. In the worst case, this could lead to financial problems. The price you pay for this insurance is usually around 40-60 euros a year, which is why most families opt for it.
  • Disability insurance. Occupational disability insurance covers you if you lose your income due to occupational disability.
  • Term life insurance. Term life insurance secures the family income if one parent dies.
  • Homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance offers homeowners protection in the event of damage that could threaten their property or assets (e.g. storm, lightning, explosion, etc.). We only recommend this type of insurance if you own a house.
  • Objects insurance. Household objects insurance covers damage to the contents of your flat or house.


We hope that this article helped you understand how to insure your family in Germany. If you want to find out more information, do not hesitate to schedule a call with our insurance experts at MW Expat.

Student Health Insurance: A Guide for Studying in Germany

International students hoping to complete their education in Germany need to have Germany’s healthcare insurance before enrolling in school and obtaining a residence permit. German student health insurance is designed to be reasonable. The country requires students to pay the standard discounted sum for their insurance unless they have a job.

How to Get Health Insurance as a Student in Germany

Before arriving in the country, you will apply for a German student visa from a German embassy in your city. You will need a short-term travel health insurance plan to cover you for your initial stay while you procure your long-term international healthcare insurance. Then, before enrolling at your chosen university, you will need to contact a Krankenkasse, i.e., a health insurance company. Your chosen company will give you their plan and relevant details. You can study the plan and coverage and choose the student health insurance that works best. 

What Should Your Student Health Insurance Cover?

Your student healthcare insurance in Germany should cover the following:

  • In-patient and out-patient care
  • Regular medical check-ups
  • Medicine costs
  • Emergency services
  • Basic dental care
  • Pregnancy treatment
  • Funeral costs and repatriation of remains costs in case of death

Choices for Student International Healthcare Insurance in Germany

Germany offers two types of health insurance – public and private. Your eligibility for them depends on your age and education status. Let’s explore these two options:

Public Health Insurance for Students

Students under 30 enrolled in degree courses in Germany must have public health insurance. You cannot register at your university without a statutory/public health insurance certificate. Students in Germany only have to pay around 110 per month as their premium until they turn 30. 

However, you cannot register for Germany’s statutory health insurance if:

  • You already have an EU health insurance in your home country 
  • You are over 30
  • You are self-employed or working as a freelancer
  • You are not enrolled in a degree course in the country

Important Note: If you reside and work in Germany while studying and earning more than €450 each month, you will need to avail health insurance as a foreign worker. 

Suppose you wish to benefit from private health insurance as a student under 30. In that case, you will have to request an exemption certificate from the statutory health insurance within the first three months of starting your studies. Once you forfeit your public insurance, you cannot revert to it for the duration of your education unless you start earning and register yourself as an employee. 

On the flip side, you can get public health insurance without technical eligibility if you are:

  • Enrolled in compulsory training after getting your degree
  • Have to care for sick or disabled relatives
  • Have a disability or illness
  • Participate in a board conducted by your university
  • A recent parent

Private Health Insurance for Students 

You must purchase private health insurance in Germany if you are:

  • Over 30
  • Enrolled in a language or preparatory course
  • A PhD student 

Moreover, if you were covered by statutory health insurance before your PhD program, you can keep it or get private insurance. Since public insurance only covers basic needs, many students opt for additional private health insurance. 

Getting Proof of Student Health Insurance in the Country

Germany’s healthcare system requires you to have proof of your student health insurance. You will need to contact your private health insurance company and request an insurance certificate as proof. It will contain your insurance plan, coverage, and other details. With a private insurance plan, you will need proof from the public health insurance provider in your area that you are exempt from statutory health insurance and that your current private plan meets your needs. 

Health Insurance for Language or Preparatory Course Students 

In Germany, international students pursuing a preparatory course cannot obtain public health insurance. Instead, they need to have private health insurance until they pass their course exam known as Feststellungsprüfung, enabling them to enrol in a degree program. That is when they will become eligible for statutory health insurance. 

Students pursuing a language course are not eligible for public health insurance. They will become eligible once they enrol in a degree programme or find employment. 

Health Insurance for Exchange Students 

Exchange students studying in Germany are enrolled in degree programs, enabling them to benefit from public health insurance. They can use the discounted amount like full-time international students despite studying in the country for a semester or two. 

Health Insurance for PhD Students 

PhD students studying in Germany are typically over 30 years of age, which means they are not eligible for statutory health insurance. However, the type of health insurance they are eligible for depends on their employment status.

PhD. Members Teaching at a University

When a PhD student is employed at a university as a research assistant or lecturer, they will need to pay 7.3% of their salary, and their employer will match the percentage. Moreover, PhD students teaching at a university are often insured as employees in public insurance plans by the university as their payroll is not above the threshold to register with private insurers.  

Non-Teaching PhD Students

PhD students who are not staff members and are less than 30 years old are eligible for the discounted statutory health insurance. However, students over 30 should seek private health insurance providers. But if they are working part-time in any institute, they can consider registering for public health insurance through their employer. 

MW Expat offers convenient public and private health insurance to students studying in Germany. Together with our student insurance partner BARMER we will help you to find the best solution for your personal situation. Get in touch with us today to learn more!  

German Healthcare Terms Expats Should Know

For expats residing in Germany, it is helpful to learn some of the key German healthcare terms so that you are able to make informed decisions regarding your health and wellbeing both during and after you move.

Moving to a foreign country can be daunting, especially when you don’t know much about the new land’s laws and regulations. On top of that, if you are not well-versed with the language of your new country of residence, you are bound to feel confused and most likely overwhelmed.

Keeping that in mind, we decided to share everything about the German healthcare system for expats living in Germany. Germany has one of the oldest healthcare systems in Europe, dating back to the 1880s, and is now ranked among the best in the entire European region. Anyone living in the country can access the medical facilities offered by the state through health insurance Germany

Sponsored by state-funded programs, healthcare in Germany is accessible to all. But that’s not all; people can (and do) acquire some of the best private health insurance policies in the country to bear expenses not covered by the statutory funds, such as advanced dental procedures. 

German Healthcare Terms Expats Should Know

Here are some German healthcare and related terms you should know as an expat:

  • Arzt (doctor) 
  • Hausarzt (GP, primary care doctor, family doctor)
  • Überweisung (referral from your GP to a specialist)
  • Rezept (prescription)
  • Krankschreibung or Attest (sick note)
  • Zahnarzt (dentist) 
  • Krankenhaus (hospital)
  • Patient (patient)
  • krank (sick)
  • Medizin or Medikament (medicine)
  • Öffentliches Krankenhaus (public hospital)
  • Frei gemeinnütziges Krankenhaus (non-profit hospital)
  • Privatkrankenhaus (private hospital)
  • Apotheke (pharmacy)
  • Heilpraktiker (alternate practitioner/naturopath)
  • Notaufnahme (emergency room)
  • Rettungswagen (fire brigade ambulance service)
  • Krankenwagen (ambulance)
  • Impfung (vaccine)
  • Krankenkasse (health insurance provider)
  • Krankenversichertenkarte (health insurance card)
  • Sozialversicherungsnummer (social security number)
  • Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung (statutory health insurance/public health insurance)
  • Private Krankenversicherung or PKV (private health insurance)

Now that you know about the common German healthcare terms, let’s understand German healthcare.

Understanding Health Insurance in Germany

While the statutory programs take care of all medical health expenses residents incur the country, they need to pay some premium for that. 

The GKV program is managed by 110 Krankenkassen (non-profit organizations that overlook GKV). Once registered with GKV, a person has to pay a premium at the rate of 14.6% of the annual gross salary (7.3% paid by the employee, the other 7.3% taken care of by the employer). All Krankenkassens must charge the same percentage of a beneficiary’s gross yearly salary. If you are asked for more, know that something is not right. 

The amount an employee has to pay for the GKV scheme cannot exceed 4350 euros a month, which is shared equally by the employee and employer. 

Once you have registered with a particular Krankenkassen, you must stay with it for at least 18 months. After the 18 months have passed, only then can you go to a different organization. 

GKV Coverage

As mentioned earlier, GKV or Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung is a federal scheme to facilitate people residing in Germany in getting access to public health. This means, if you want to get state-provided medical benefits, you must sign up with a Krankenkasse. That said, not all medical expenses are covered by said state healthcare program. 

You will receive free services from registered doctors, hospital care (both in- and out-patient) and basic dental treatment. For any advanced medical treatment, you may have to get private medical insurance or pay out of pocket

One other thing about getting registered with a Krankenkasse for GKV is that it will look after the expenses of all the non-working family members residing with you in Germany. You will not have to pay any added amount for getting the medical costs of your dependent kin covered by GKV, provided that they live with you. 

For availing the benefit of having your family’s medical expenses taken care of under GKV, you and they should share the same address that you have given to the Krankenkasse dealing your case. 

Getting German Health Insurance

Expats and permanent residents in Germany can take out public health insurance by following these steps. 

  • Registering at a nearby town hall
  • Once you are registered with the German authorities you will get a social security number, aka Sozialversicherungsnummer as called in the German language. 
  • Next you will begin paying the standard premium and have access to all public medical care amenities. 
  • You should then sign up with a local insurance fund that will provide you with a card. You will have to carry it with you to every doctor’s appointment or visit to the hospital. 

Since public health doesn’t cover all medical expenses, such as cosmetic treatments, some people choose to get private insurance. But not everyone can take it out. There are a bunch of terms and conditions that must be fulfilled if a person wishes to have private medical coverage. 

Choosing Between Private and Public Medical Insurance In Germany

By law, every person residing in Germany needs to take out private or public medical insurance. But which option of the two you pick will depend on your job status and earning. 

Statutory Healthcare in Germany is classified as compulsory (pflichtversichert) health insurance, voluntary (freiwillig versichert) health insurance and getting insured under a family plan. This classification only applies to the public scheme. As the name gives away, the former category is for people who must sign up for public health insurance or GKV while the latter is for those who are free to choose their insurance plan (between private and public). 

Who Has To Apply For Compulsory Insurance?

Compulsory public health insurance is for employees who earn less 64.350 euros per year. If your annual salary doesn’t add up to 64.350 euros or more, you are bound by law to take out a public health fund. 

Who Can Get Voluntary Insurance

Everyone who doesn’t qualify for compulsory insurance automatically becomes eligible for voluntary insurance. Still, here is a quick rundown of people who meet the criterion for freiwillig versichert. 

  • People earning more than 64.350 euros a year
  • Self-employed people or freelancers
  • Students 
  • Stay-at-home family members, primarily spouses. 

What Does Private Insurance Cover

Like in pretty much all other countries, private healthcare insurance covers a larger array of medical expenses, depending on the policy you take out. 

Beneficiaries can get a mix and match of benefits from private insurance based on their needs as you can get coverage for anything and everything. 

Some people like to have a better dental coverage program while others might go for having private rooms or even both. One of the most appealing aspects of private medical insurance is that you can get appointments with specialists much faster than if you are under public health coverage. 

In the public scheme, or GKV, patients will have a general physician or primary care doctor (Hausarzt) assigned to them, which they can choose themselves. This doctor will examine patients and refer them to specialists if need be. 

But since specialists typically have appointments lined up for months in advance, people with public health insurance have to wait for their turn, which can take a while.  

Hospital and Other Medical Services in Germany

If you are registered under GKV, you can access all public healthcare facilities as a German citizen. 

Whether you have public medical insurance or took out private insurance, you should have some basic idea about the hospitals and medical facilities in Germany. To educate you on the topic, here is a quick overview of healthcare organizations in the country.

There are three types of hospitals (Krankenhäuser) in Germany

  • Public, owned and managed by government authorities
  • Non-profit, owned and managed by charitable organizations or churches
  • Private, owned and run by a private association. 

Mother Care and Pregnancy Care Services

Since going through pregnancy and subsequent childbirth is arguably the most common medical need, knowing about the services available for it is important. 

All pregnancy related issues are covered by public health insurance, including sexual, fertility and urological matters. On the contrary, in the case of private insurance, some pregnancy-related expenses may not be covered, depending on the program you choose. So, be sure to go through all your options and pick the best program for yourself. 

Contraceptive items, such as birth control pills, and IUDs must be prescribed by a gynaecologist while emergency contraceptives can be bought over the counter. 

Ending Note

The German healthcare system is among the most advanced in the world. If you want to have access to it, be sure to sign up for medical insurance, private or public, as early as possible. And if you are an expat living here, look up expat health insurance Germany to not miss out on any healthcare amenities and services. 

Public or Private Health Insurance in Germany: Which Is Better for Expats and Why?

As an expat in Germany, getting health insurance is a crucial part of securing the best healthcare for yourself. Not only is it a requirement, but opting for public or private health insurance can make all the difference.

Expats are eligible for State healthcare, but it’s not as comprehensive as some private policies that can help you get various health-related treatments that are within your insurance policy.

Of course, there are additional costs to bear, but it could also help you save money in the long term. So, regarding expat health insurance in Germany, we’ll help you decide whether private service or public is a good option for you based on your needs. Here’s what you should know. 

Private vs Public Health Insurance?

Some people living in Germany do not have the choice of opting for the best private health insurance. So, if they earn less than €64,350 in a year, they cannot opt for private insurance. They will need to continue using public health insurance. This is applicable to both expats and locals. 

However, if you earn more than that figure annually, you can choose between the best private health insurance in Germany or public insurance. There are some reasons why you may want to opt for private insurance. Here’s what they are. We also mention one advantage that’s worth noting if you choose public insurance. 

Private Health Insurance Has More Coverage than Public Insurance

Public insurance covers only limited healthcare treatments. There’s also only basic coverage for dental work. On the other hand, private health insurance can offer a variety of additional forms of healthcare coverage based on your needs.

More coverage could increase the price of your policy, so you can choose coverage for only those treatments that you feel you will need at that moment or in the future. In any case, the coverage for the following is comprehensive with private health insurance as opposed to only basic coverage with public insurance. 

  • Treatment coverage 
  • Dental care
  • Medication 
  • Contacts and Glasses
  • Alternative Treatment 

Private Health Insurance Can Limit Waiting Times for Appointments with Specialists  

With public health insurance, people may have to wait for months until they can get an appointment with a specialist (if they want that to be covered). This is because there are long waiting lines, and you will have to wait on the list. However, private insurance can cut down on those waiting times by allowing only short notice periods. 

Private Health Insurance Allows You to Choose Your Private Specialists and Hospitals

You get to choose both the doctors and the hospitals with a private health insurance policy. With a public insurance policy, you will have to use whatever the state gives to you. 

Private Health Insurance Can Have Coverage Outside of Germany

If you’re an expat who travels a lot, you can certainly benefit from private health insurance. This is because public insurance is geographically limited to Germany and the EU only, while many private health insurance policies offer coverage in different parts of the world. Therefore, you will be protected even if you get sick and receive treatment from a country outside the EU. 

Public Insurance Does Not Have Upfront Costs

One important advantage that public insurance has over its private counterpart is there are no upfront costs of treatments that are covered. However, with a private insurance policy, you will need to pay the charges upfront and then have them reimbursed. That said, you will limit your treatment options and the healthcare facilities when you opt for public insurance. 

When to Choose Private or Public Health Insurance in Germany

Whether you choose private or public insurance will depend on what type of coverage you need for insurance. If you typically don’t have medical bills that are anything more than what’s included in basic coverage, you don’t have to opt for private service.

However, if you want extended dental coverage or coverage for treating chronic conditions, then private insurance is the way to go. 

Opting for private health insurance when public insurance doesn’t cover what you need can help you save a lot of money in the long term. Certain medical procedures can be expensive, and your insurance will ensure that you don’t go broke trying to stay healthy. 

It’s important to note that the coverage can vary from one private health insurance policy to another. So, be sure to review your policy carefully to ensure that it covers the specific treatments that you need. This way, you won’t have to pay for those treatments out of pocket, which, in some cases, can be fairly expensive. 

Last Few Words

The best private health insurance in Germany should be one in which you have all the coverage you need within and outside of Germany. Of course, it should also be affordable so that it makes it worth it. 

The Expat Guide to Health Insurance in Germany

Our Expat Guide to Health Insurance in Germany will provide you with everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision of what type of health insurance is best for you and you family.

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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