Public Health Insurance in Germany
In Germany, around 70 million people are insured by a statutory health insurance fund (Krankenkasse).
Statutory health insurance in Germany works on the principle of solidarity: all members of a statutory health insurance fund are entitled to medically necessary treatment – regardless of the level of their health insurance contributions or their income.
Family members without an income of their own are jointly insured under the statutory health insurance at no extra cost. In the past years, health insurance contribution rates have been set by the Federal Government. However, since start of 2015, health insurance funds can levy surcharges on the contribution rate, so it can make sense to look for lower premium costs for nearly equal coverage.
Although under statutory health insurance, 95 percent of the services are set by legislators, health insurance funds can offer their customers additional services. As a result, there are differences that may be of interest to specific groups (for example diabetics, asthmatics or young parents). A comparison of services can therefore also make sense even within the statutory health insurance system.
There are significant differences between the individual statutory health insurance funds with respect to special services, bonus and selective tariffs as well as customer service.
Moreover, the health insurance funds offer numerous tariffs: healthy people who rarely go to the doctor can save money with selective tariffs.
For expats, the most common question is whether they qualify to become a member of a statutory health insurance fund or not.
For expats of any nationality arriving from another EU member country where they were previously insured in the state system of that country (for example the NHS in the UK), this is generally unproblematic.
This also applies to expats arriving in Germany to work as an employee and who either earn in 2015 less than EUR 54.900 per annum (gross) or who are employed in Germany for the first time.
For freelancers or self-employed arriving in Germany without having been previously insured in the state health insurance scheme of an EU member country for the previous 12 months (or 24 months in the previous five years), joining the statutory scheme is not easy.
Where it would make sense to join a statutory fund (e.g. because of pre-existing medical conditions or large families that are best jointly insured), there can be options, but this is not simple and may require extensive consultation.
Another field that is not simple is that of academics and students over the age of 30 who are supported in Germany by scholarships, for example. Special insurance solutions are required here too.
We are experts for health insurance solutions for expats in Germany and can find the best option for you as well. For assistance and quotes, contact us HERE