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.
[Important] Private health insurance co-payments (Selbstbeteiligung):
If you get injured because of an accident or have a serious illness, treatments could be expensive and not be covered by your insurance plan. This is when co-payments, also known as deductibles or excess (Selbstbeteiligung) come in.
Private health insurance works this way: every month you pay a premium (Beitrag) and choose a level of deductible.
Example: a deductible of 300€ means that you pay 300€ before your insurance policy kicks in. It’s a compromise! You can either choose a private plan with less co-payment but a higher monthly premium, or a private plan with more co-payment but a lower monthly premium.
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.
Health Insurance Quotes
Ottonova is a fully licensed & BaFin-approved health insurance company offering customer-friendly and personalized advice on every aspect of the German health coverage. They can help you find the health insurance that best fits your budget and meets your needs.
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