Health Insurance Options - Private vs. Public

Private Health Insurance vs. Public Health Insurance

Health insurance plans for freelancers, employees, students and German visa & residence permit holders.

Since 2009, everyone living in Germany must be covered by health insurance.

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Public or Private Health Insurance Plans for Employees, Freelancers, Students & Visa Holders.

 

Our Recommendation:

  • If you are employed and earn more than 62,550€ a year, we recommend you to choose Private Health Insurance. Request a free quote now!

  • If you are unemployed, self-employed or currently looking for a job and you've just moved to Germany from a non-EU country, then you should sign up for Expat Health Insurance (limited to 5 years). Once you have a steady income, you can easily cancel and switch to Public or Private Health Insurance. Sign up now!

  • If you need health insurance to get a visa or residence permit then we recommend that you take out an Expat Health Insurance. It's only 72 euros per month and you can cancel anytime. Once you find a job in Germany, you can easily cancel and switch to public health insurance. Sign up now!

  • If you are a university student under the age of 30, be sure to take out Public Health Insurance. TK has an incredibly affordable offer made just for students so be sure to take advantage of it! Sign up here.

  • If you are in any other situation we recommend that you take out Expat Health Insurance. This will not only make sure that you are covered in case of an accident, but it will also fulfil the legal requirement for living in Germany. You can switch easily to Public or Private Health Insurance at a later stage. Sign up here.

WHAT TYPES OF HEALTH INSURANCE ARE AVAILABLE IN GERMANY?

EXPAT HEALTH INSURANCE

Expat health insurance is a type of health insurance that was especially designed for expats staying temporarily in Germany. Expat health insurance covers you in Germany up to 5 years.

Expat health insurance (sometimes referred to as “incoming insurance”) is a great solution for your first years in Germany. It’s good, affordable coverage that fulfils the legal requirements for obtaining a visa or residence permit. Signup is simple and payments are made month-to-month. Cancel anytime with just one click.

Advantages of expat health insurance:

  • It is cheaper than public or private health insurance.
  • It fulfils all German legal requirements for obtaining a visa or residence permit (not for renewals).
  • It is easier & quicker to get than public or private health insurance. It usually takes a few minutes.
  • It is flexible. You can cancel anytime with one click.
  • This health insurance covers any unexpected medical treatments and procedures, as well as associated follow-up costs.
  • If a sudden illness requires treatment or hospitalization, this health insurance covers all costs.
  • If an injury or health problem requires you to be transported by ambulance to a medical facility, costs will be covered.
  • In particularly serious cases, you may need to return to your home country for treatment. This expat plan will cover the travel costs.
  • You can customize your coverage (dental check ups, visual aids like glasses or contacts, etc).
  • You can easily switch to a proper private or public health insurance with no back payments if you decide to settle in Germany and can afford something better.

Disadvantages of expat health insurance:

  • This expat insurance is a temporary health insurance (valid for up to 5 years).
  • This expat insurance is not accepted for residence permit renewals.
  • This expat insurance is not accepted if you need to change to a different residence permit.
  • Long-term treatments are 100% covered, but you sometimes have to pay a small deductible for basic treatments (i.e. simple check ups).

Who can take out expat health insurance?

  • Non-EU citizens moving to Germany and wanting a temporary health insurance (for up to 5 years).
  • Non-EU citizens moving to Germany and wanting a coverage that fulfils the legal requirements for obtaining a visa or residence permit.
  • Non-EU citizens moving to Germany and wanting an affordable health insurance with no paperwork and in English.

 Reminder: Employees who earn under 62,550€ per year are only entitled to public health insurance! Also, university students under the age of 30 are usually covered with public health insurance.

What are the best Expat Health Insurances in German?

We, at myGermanExpert, have been dealing with expats moving to Germany on a daily basis for almost 9 years, and we can recommend 2 options to you:

Feather: Expat health insurance starting at €72 a month. Founded in 2008 in Berlin, this young start-up is here to last. This insurance is flexible. You can cancel anytime with one click.

Ottonova: Expat health insurance starting at €165 a month. Founded in 2005 in Munich. They offer unique health care plans for non-EU expats who work in Germany. You can choose between the First Class or Business Class plans. All in one app and in English. You can even book a doctor's appointment directly through their app.

PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Private health insurance covers around 10% of the population in Germany, particularly employees earning over 62,550€ a year and freelancers.

The costs of private health insurance depend on your age, your occupation and your health condition, not on your income.

Advantages of private health insurance:

  • It is cheaper than public health insurance if you earn more money as premiums are not based on your income.
  • It is cheaper than public health insurance if you are young, healthy and don’t have dependent children: your children and/or non-working spouse need to get insured separately.
  • You can customize your coverage, including special treatments, dental coverage, travel insurance, and so on.
  • Physicians make more money from private health insurance companies, so they will treat private-insured patients first and better. You will be prioritize over public-insured patients!
  • If you rarely need to go to the doctor, you can take a higher deductible, so you will pay less insurance each month!
  • It is often cheaper than public health insurance if you are a university student over the age of 30.

Disadvantages of private health insurance:

  • It is more expensive than public health insurance if you are old, have dependent children or a non-working spouse.
  • It is more expensive than public health insurance if you have some pre-existing conditions (i.e. heart problems, diabetes, etc).

Who can take out private health insurance?

  • Employees in Germany who earn over 62,550€ a year (before taxes). Private health insurance companies are not forced to accept you.
    The costs of private health insurance depend on your age, occupation and health condition. Your employer will pay half of your monthly contributions.

»» If your yearly gross income is over €62,550€ (before taxes), you can request a free quote from Feather. Feather will help you find the option that best fits your budget and meets your needs. ««

  • Freelancers: If you are a freelancer and you just moved from a non-EU country, then private health insurance might be your only solution.

»» Freelancers can always choose private health insurance. Request a free advice now! Fill in the form below and Feather will help you find the option that best fits your budget and meets your needs. ««

  • University student who are over the age of 30:
    • Private & public health insurers offer special rates. However, you should probably consider getting an Expat Health Insurance as it is the cheapest solution available until your studies are over.
    • Once you find a job after your studies, you can easily take out private or public health insurance.
  • Language students, doctoral candidates, trainees, researchers & au-pairs:
    • You can take out private health insurance if you get accepted. However, you should probably consider getting an Expat Health Insurance as it is the cheapest solution available for short-term stays or until your studies are over.
    • If you decide to stay longer (i.e. you find a job after your studies), you can then easily switch to private or public health insurance with no back payments.
PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE

Public health insurance, also called statutory health insurance, is the most popular option in Germany. In fact, 90% of Germany's population has public health insurance.

Advantages of public health insurance:

  • It is cheaper if you earn less money.
  • It is cheaper when you are old.
  • It is cheaper for university students under the age of 30.
  • Your children and/or unemployed spouse are covered for free.
  • It is cheaper if you have pre-existing conditions. There are no extra costs for them!

Disadvantages of public health insurance:

  • It is more expensive than private health insurance if you are young, healthy and earn a high salary.
  • It is more expensive than private health insurance if you are young, healthy and have no spouse or children.
  • Physicians make more money from private health insurance companies, so they tend to treat private-insured patients first and better.
  • You cannot customize your coverage: no special treatments are included, everyone gets the same.
  • If you are a freelancer, a language student or a doctoral student (with a scholarship) and you just moved from a non-EU country, then it's almost impossible to get public health insurance.

Germany's most popular health insurance provider is TK.

Public health insurance is mandatory if:

  • you are employed in Germany and earn under 62,550€ a year (before taxes). This is the only option available to you. Statutory health insurance funds are forced to accept you!
    The costs of public health insurance depend on your salary. You contribute 14.6% to 15.6% of your income every month. Half of it will be paid by your employer!
  • you are a university student under the age of 30 (until you reach your 30th birthday or until your 14th term of study).
    • You will pay around 104€ a month.
    • If you are a EU citizen, you can use your EHIC card. You will have to use your EHIC to register with a statutory health insurance fund in Germany. The insurer will then provide a confirmation for the enrollment at the university.

If you only qualify for Public Health Insurance, you do NOT need to request a consultation with MW Expat Solution Services. You can take out public health insurance yourself by following the link below.

Germany's most popular health insurance provider is TK: Become a member of TK now! It's free and in English!

If your yearly gross income goes over €62,550€, you can come back here and request a free quote from Feather. Request a free quote now!

Public health insurance is optional if:

  • you are a freelancer.
  • you are a university student over the age of 30.
  • you are an employee and earn more than 62,550€ a year (before taxes).
  • you have a minijob.

In those cases above, you can choose public or private health insurance. However, public health insurance funds are not forced to accept you! Check ou the "Private Health Insurance" section below for more details.

STATE HEALTH INSURANCE

(Public Health Insurance)

This type of health insurance is provided by the German government.

It is mandatory to take out state health insurance if you are employed and earn less than €62,550 per year. A basic level of insurance cover will be deducted from your gross annual income in a fixed percentage. In addition, you will have to take out long-term nursing cover.

In 2020, state health insurance payments are set at 14,6% + roughly 1% supplementary charge (varies per provider), and 3,05% (3,3% if over 23 and childless) extra for providing long-term nursing cover. If your salary is €5,212.50 per month or less, these deductions will apply to you.

If you are employed rather than freelancing, your employer must cover 50% of the amount: they will pay up to €367,97 + €71.48 (nursing care) per month. If you earn more than €4,687.50 per month, you will need to make a personal contribution of €367.97 + €71.48.

PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Private health insurance is becoming increasingly popular in Germany, largely due to the fact that many state health services have been cut or downgraded.

Contrary to what one might expect, in Germany, it is more cost effective to take out private health insurance rather than state health insurance as private policies provide more comprehensive cover and better value.

The key private healthcare services include:
• the ability to access private or semi-private hospitals;
• prescription glasses or contact lenses;
• access to various other health services.

Private patients can also access priority dental care, and priority treatment and doctor's surgery or hospital. Some health professionals only provide care to private patients. An employer will cover half of the cost of private health insurance up to the amount that he would have to pay for the statutory insurance, which works out as a contribution of up to €367.97 for health cover and €71.48 for long-term nursing cover. These are the same maximum amounts as for state health insurance.

EXPAT HEALTH INSURANCE

FOR

VISA & RESIDENCE PERMIT HOLDERS

Non-EU citizens who plan to stay in the country for more than 90 days need to apply for a visa or a residence permit. Check out here if you need a visa to enter Germany.

The German Residence Act (Section 5 (1) (1)) states that for a residence permit to be granted, the applicant needs to prove that s(he) will be self-sufficient while living in Germany. Section 2(3) of the act states that part of self-sufficiency involves having adequate health insurance coverage.

When it comes to taking out health insurance, applicants for a German residence permit have two options: German private health insurance or international health insurance cover. However, international health insurance companies do not always fulfill the requirements demanded by German law.

German law states that foreign nationals lacking German state health insurance must provide evidence of another type of health insurance cover that meets the same requirements as German statutory health insurance.

That means that the policy must not:
• comprise any large-scale exclusion from benefits;
• demand high excess payments from the insured person;
• place limits on the costs that can be reimbursed if the insured person becomes ill;
• involve any indemnity or expiration clauses related to the age of the policyholder,
the activities they take part in, or any changes to the purpose of their residency in Germany.

Moreover, the policy must function as life insurance, i.e. it must not be designed to expire, or it must be automatically extendable or renewable.

The Bonn-based Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (the German Federal Supervisory Authority for Financial Services) stipulates that all German statutory requirements for German health insurance, as laid out in Book 5 Sect. 257(2)(a) of the German Social Security Code, must be met by any agreement between an insured person and their insurers.

If you wish to discover whether your international health insurance policy is valid in Germany, one option is to ask the insurance company to confirm that they meet the German legal requirements. If they cannot provide such confirmation, it is likely that they do not meet the requirements.

Wondering if you should use a broker (insurance expert) to compare health insurance plans in Germany?

A certified insurance expert can clarify your questions about German health coverage while educating you about the most optimal options available in Germany.

An experienced & independent health insurance broker like can help you find the right plan that best fits your budget and meets your needs.

Will using a fully licensed broker cost more money?

Using a licensed insurance expert does not come at any extra cost to you. The law sets prices on health insurance plans, and brokers have to abide by government and state regulations, which means that brokers cannot raise the price of group plans.

Why use a broker when shopping for health insurance?

A health insurance broker serves as an intermediary between you and health insurance companies and can help to match you with a health insurance plan or company best suited to your needs.

The major difference between a health insurance broker and a health insurance company is that brokers have the freedom to offer plans from across the entire German health insurance marketplace, instead of being limited to options from just one health insurance company.

Licensed brokers can answer your questions and connect you to health insurance plans that meet your preferences regarding monthly premium, health coverage, and additional benefits.

Although all health plan prices are fixed by law and government regulations, meaning that a health insurance broker cannot reduce or increase prices, the value of working with an independent broker is that (s)he completes all the groundwork for you. We trust Rob from Feather, he is a fully licensed, independent & experienced health insurance broker and can help you look at a variety of plan options offered by multiple companies that fit your budget and price range (100% in English).

If you buy a plan through Feather, the services of the broker do not cost you anything, so you can generally be confident that there is no incentive for Feather to favor one company or plan over the other.

Overall, using an independent broker allows you to shop around and explore more options for health coverage to see if you could save some money.

Using a broker for individual & family health insurance plans

If you choose to use the services of a licensed broker, then that broker will help you find affordable health plans from multiple insurance companies.

Using Feather as an insurance broker makes it easy to start your new life in Germany:

  • No broker fees – There are no broker fees when shopping for health insurance quotes. Free consultation! Free advices! Free quotes! Free callback!
  • Unbiased Advice – Since Feather is a health insurance broker and not an insurance company, Rob and his team can provide unbiased insights related to German health coverage. By offering plans from more than a single insurance company, they concentrate on finding you the right plan for you and your family, rather than promoting any particular type of plan or company.
  • Convenience – Get all of your insurance options in one place through Feather, comparing plans from different companies to find the best solution for you and your family.

As a health insurance broker, Feather provides you with the assistance, information, and resources you need to make the best decision regarding German health insurance, and their licensed insurance brokers are committed to helping you find the right plan for you and your family. Request a free consultation today.

Wondering if you should use a broker (insurance expert) to compare health insurance plans in Germany?

A certified insurance expert can clarify your questions about German health coverage while educating you about the most optimal options available in Germany.

An experienced & independent health insurance broker like can help you find the right plan that best fits your budget and meets your needs.

Will using a fully licensed broker cost more money?

Using a licensed insurance expert does not come at any extra cost to you. The law sets prices on health insurance plans, and brokers have to abide by government and state regulations, which means that brokers cannot raise the price of group plans.

Why use a broker when shopping for health insurance?

A health insurance broker serves as an intermediary between you and health insurance companies and can help to match you with a health insurance plan or company best suited to your needs.

The major difference between a health insurance broker and a health insurance company is that brokers have the freedom to offer plans from across the entire German health insurance marketplace, instead of being limited to options from just one health insurance company.

Licensed brokers can answer your questions and connect you to health insurance plans that meet your preferences regarding monthly premium, health coverage, and additional benefits.

Although all health plan prices are fixed by law and government regulations, meaning that a health insurance broker cannot reduce or increase prices, the value of working with an independent broker is that (s)he completes all the groundwork for you. We trust Rob from Feather, he is a fully licensed, independent & experienced health insurance broker and can help you look at a variety of plan options offered by multiple companies that fit your budget and price range (100% in English).

If you buy a plan through Feather, the services of the broker do not cost you anything, so you can generally be confident that there is no incentive for Feather to favor one company or plan over the other.

Overall, using an independent broker allows you to shop around and explore more options for health coverage to see if you could save some money.

Using a broker for individual & family health insurance plans

If you choose to use the services of a licensed broker, then that broker will help you find affordable health plans from multiple insurance companies.

Using Feather as an insurance broker makes it easy to start your new life in Germany:

  • No broker fees – There are no broker fees when shopping for health insurance quotes. Free consultation! Free advices! Free quotes! Free callback!
  • Unbiased Advice – Since Feather is a health insurance broker and not an insurance company, Rob and his team can provide unbiased insights related to German health coverage. By offering plans from more than a single insurance company, they concentrate on finding you the right plan for you and your family, rather than promoting any particular type of plan or company.
  • Convenience – Get all of your insurance options in one place through Feather, comparing plans from different companies to find the best solution for you and your family.

As a health insurance broker, Feather provides you with the assistance, information, and resources you need to make the best decision regarding German health insurance, and their licensed insurance brokers are committed to helping you find the right plan for you and your family. Request a free consultation today.

Germany is home of two health insurance systems: private health insurance and state health insurance. They are both equally valid and run in parallel.

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