Germany is home of two health insurance systems: private health insurance and state health insurance. They are both equally valid and run in parallel.
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 €57,600 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 2016, state health insurance payments were set at 15.5%, and 2.2% of this was used for providing long-term nursing cover. If your salary is €4,237.50 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 €346.50 per month. If you earn more than €4,237.50 per month, you will need to make a personal contribution of €383.62.
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, which works out as a contribution of up to €309.34 for health cover and €49.79 for long-term nursing cover. These are the same maximum amounts as for state health insurance.
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