How Does Germany’s Health Insurance Work?

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German Health Insurance

Alt-Text: International healthcare insurance 

Understanding how a new country’s healthcare system works can be overwhelming, especially when you have to face a language barrier. However, if you will be living and working in Germany, you will need to learn about international healthcare insurance in the country. You will need to know that health insurance is obligatory for all German and international citizens living and working in the country. 

Here’s everything you need to know about health insurance in Germany: 

Health Insurance for Expats & Travellers in Germany

People entering Germany need to have adequate health insurance issued by a licensed medical insurance provider. But for travel expat health insurance in Germany, different requirements apply based on the person’s purpose of visit, citizenship, and length of stay. 

Germany Healthcare System

Germany’s healthcare system is the oldest in Europe. This dual public-private system dates back to the 1880s and is known to be one of the finest worldwide. It requires every legal resident of the country to have health insurance coverage. The country’s health system is divided into private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung) and public/statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung). 

Most German residents benefit from the country’s public health insurance scheme, funded by the taxpayers’ monthly contributions. It enables them to access top-tier, affordable healthcare regardless of their economic status. Some residents, primarily individuals with a higher salary, choose private health insurance in Germany. 

The health insurance plan you acquire is based on your salary:

  • If your earnings are less than €64,350 per year, you can only choose public health insurance.
  • If your earnings are less than €64,350 per year but you are a freelancer, you can get a private insurance plan instead of public insurance.  
  • If you earn more than the above-stipulated amount, you can choose public or private insurance. 

What Sort of Coverage Does Health Insurance in Germany Offer?

German health insurance will typically cover most of your doctor’s visits costs, surgery, medical and dental treatment, prescription medicine, etc. But, even with your insurance, you might have to pay the following: 

  • The first €10 of your prescription medicine
  • About €10/day for hospitalization (for a maximum of 28 days/year)
  • The total price for prescribed vision aids – contacts or glasses

Can You Benefit from Both Public & Private Healthcare Insurance?

You can undoubtedly acquire public and private healthcare plans when you are eligible for public healthcare. Getting supplemental private health insurance in Germany will enable you to cover the gaps in statutory health insurance. Depending on your private insurance, you can benefit from extensive dental care, complete medicine reimbursements, private hospital rooms, and more. 

Private and Public Health Insurance in Germany

Public Health Insurance in Germany

When it comes to public health insurance, employed German residents and expats will need to pay the monthly contributions matched by their employer. Freelancers will need to pay the amount in full. The amount you pay can be between 14.6% and 15.6% of your monthly income. The insurance will cover your non-working spouse and children without you needing to pay extra for them. 

Since this insurance is for everyone, the amount of coverage will not change based on your monthly contributions. You can use your insurance to receive treatment in all public and most private hospitals. Moreover, you won’t have access to a private room, but the plan will cover your pre-existing conditions. However, you might need to wait for a couple of days or weeks for a doctor’s appointment, depending on your situation. 

Private Health Insurance in Germany

 Like public insurance, you and your employer will pay an equal amount to the insurer. However, your employer might not pay for a supplemental private insurance plan. The cost of your insurance will depend on your age, plan coverage, and your pre-existing health conditions. Generally, older people with pre-existing health conditions have to pay higher premiums. 

Unlike public health insurance, if you wish to include your dependents in your insurance plan, you will need to pay an additional fee for each family member. But you can choose the policy you want based on how much coverage it offers. A policy with a higher maximum and coverage will cost more. Private health insurance is only available to individuals with an income exceeding €64,350/year, civil servants, and freelancers. 

Furthermore, when you have private international healthcare insurance, you can receive treatment in all public and private hospitals and get private hospital rooms. Even though private health companies are obliged under German healthcare to accept people with pre-existing conditions, you might have to pay more for a convenient plan. Your private healthcare deductible will also depend on your plan, and your waiting times will be shorter than those of people with public healthcare insurance. 

Expat/International Healthcare Insurance in Germany

Wondering how to register for international health insurance in Germany? Here’s all you need to know:

Public Health Insurance for Expats

German authorities will assign you a social insurance number (Sozialversicherungsnummer) at the local Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) when you move to the country. Then, your employer will sign you up for a health insurance plan or allow you to choose a plan that works for you, enabling you to make monthly contributions to the national insurance scheme. You will receive your Health Insurance Card, which you must show whenever you get medical treatment. 

Private Health Insurance for Expats

For seeking private expat health insurance in Germany, you will need to contact a private insurance firm. But before that, you will need to unsubscribe from the public insurance. If you have yet to choose a plan, you can let your employer know you want private insurance and which company you want to choose. 

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