International insurance providers are not located in Germany, but offer health insurance  tariffs that are used around the world.

International private health insurance tariffs differ from German private health insurance in a number of ways: Firstly, in contrast to German private insurance, the tariffs are not computed like a life insurance, i.e. no money is set aside to cover the increasing health risks of older people. As a consequence, they are very cheap when you are young, but get more expensive every year as you get older.

Another major difference is that an international insurer will cancel your insurance plan when you fail to pay your premiums, something German insurers are not allowed to do (which is one of the reasons that international insurance probably do not comply with the relevant German laws). Because of this, the application process is usually relatively easy in comparison to what you have to go through when applying for German private insurance.

So far, so good!

Unfortunately it is under dispute if they can be used as legally compliant health insurance for residents in Germany.  There has been a long discussion in Expat forums and our very own Starshollow has been on the forefront of these discussions. The latest position is summarized well as this:

According to the German regulation body for insurances and finances, BaFin, the vast majority of international health insurance do not comply with the legal requirements in Germany and thus cannot satisfy the requirement for a resident to obtain and hold an adequate health insurance. This has been made public on the BaFin website here   On top of that, that head association of German private health insurance (while certainly not unbiased in this) has also decreed that they deem international health insurances not to be legally compliant as substitutive health insurance under German laws. Therefore they will universally demand penalty-backcharges from everyone who has been insured „incorrectly“ with an international health insurance in the past months or years if at a later point in time you want or need to switch to a German health insurance. Which can often happen if you have a chance for employment (because international insurance don’t work in employment in Germany at all for lack of tax recognition for employers). Or, just as often, because the immigration office (Ausländeramt) demands after the first or second VISA suddenly now full German health insurance.

.At C R & Cie. we have dealt with international health insurances for more than a decade. In the given circumstance of legal uncertainty we do not recommend them anymore, though, to Expats.

There is one exception, though: we have a broker-contract with one international health insurance that is compliant under§ 193 Abs 3 VVG and has an agreement that clients can move over to a German private insurance company (part of the same enterprise) without any back-charges. The reasons is that this insurance is limited to 5 years duration max. and therefore falls under § 195 VVG and can thus be used by Expats living in Germany on a time-limited VISA. This can be an option in some cases and we are happy to work out quotes for you and explain to you your options in Germany. Just contact us here

Another option – brand new in 2018!!!! – for self-employed is a special group-tariff Chambervelt, Rooselain & Cie. have worked out together with the ASEIG (Association of self-employed Expats in Germany) that is offered by a bona-fide German health insurance company of good reputation and complies with both § 193 Abs 3 VVG and (!) § 257 Abs 4 SGB V  and is thus a fully compliant subsitutive German health insurance. Get more information about the ASEIG-group tariff for self-employed Expats here.