While your overseas travel insurance was sufficient until you reached Germany, a German health insurance is mandatory while in the country.
Since 2009, it has been compulsory to take out health insurance if you are living and working in Germany. This rule applies to everyone, no matter whether you are a EU citizen or a national from a country which is subject to visa obligations.
What if you work as a freelancer in Germany?
By law, you still have to take out health insurance.
There are three options here:
• The first involves taking out private health insurance with a German company;
• The second involves taking out state health insurance with a German state company;
• The third involves taking out an expat health insurance.
• If you are from a non-EU country and you just arrived in Germany to be a freelancer, you have no choice but to take out an Expat Health Insurance until you get a steady income.
• If you are already a freelancer working in Germany with a steady income, take out a Private Health Insurance. Unless you are over 50, have children or a dependent spouse. This is often the only solution you have!
• If you were previously employed in Germany and are now a freelancer, you can take out Private or Public Health Insurance.
• If you are a freelancer from a EU-country and had previously public health insurance in your country of origin, you can decide if choosing Private or Public Health Insurance.
HEALTH INSURANCE FOR FREELANCERS IN GERMANY
If you have traveled to Germany from abroad, then, it is totally fine to use a health insurance policy from your home country. However, if you do choose this option, it is crucial to ensure that the foreign company you have taken out your insurance with meets the German government's legal requirements.
If you are a foreign national in Germany, German law states that you must either have German state or private health insurance. If the latter option applies to you, you must be able to provide evidence that your insurance meets the German government's requirements.
What are these requirements?
Broadly, they state that any non-state health insurance scheme must provide the same sort of coverage as state health insurance.
In brief, the rules state that your policy must not contain:
• any kind of exclusion from the policy;
• a requirement to pay a large excess;
• a limit to the amount that will be reimbursed to you if you are ill;
• any expiration or indemnity clauses linked to changes in your reason
for living in Germany, your age, or the activities you participate in.
Moreover, the policy must function as a life insurance plan, i.e. it must run for an indefinite period of time, or be extendable automatically.
Based in Bonn, the legal entity for regulating financial services is known as the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (Federal Supervisory Authority for Financial Services). It is responsible for the strict criteria that health insurance policies must meet, specifically with relation to Book V Section 257(2)(a) of the SGBV (the German Social Security Code).
It is crucial to ascertain whether your international health insurance policy is valid in Germany.
How do you do so?
Simply ask your insurance company to give you the license number they have received from the BaFin. Another option is to ask your company to confirm that they have met the German statutory regulations. If they cannot provide a license or confirmation, it is likely that they do not meet the German criteria.
WHAT TYPES OF HEALTH INSURANCE ARE AVAILABLE IN GERMANY?
PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE
It is not easy to be part of the private health insurance system. Private health insurance covers around 10% of the population in Germany, particularly employees earning over 62,550€ a year (legal threshold) and freelancers with a steady income.
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!
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). This is the law! 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 MW Expat Solution by filling out the form below. MW will help you find the option that best fits your budget and meets your needs. ««
- Freelancers (Newly Arrived): If you are a freelancer and you just moved from a non-EU country, then Expat Health Insurance might be your only solution. Sign up now! It only costs 72€ a month. You can easily switch to private or public health insurance once you have a steady income.
- Freelancers (with a Steady Income): If you are a freelancer working in Germany, 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 MW Expat Solution 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.
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.
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 MW Expat Solution. Request a free quote now by filling out the form below!
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.
Private Health Insurance Quotes
MW Expat Solution Services is a fully licensed, independent & experienced health insurance broker offering customer-friendly and personalized advice on every aspect of the German health coverage. They can help you find the private health insurance that best fits your budget and meets your needs.