Private Health Insurance For Companies - One of the first administrative hurdles you will face as a newly arrived expat is figuring out whether to take out public or private health insurance.
For those who are self-employed, the situation is different from that of employees. You can automatically choose between public or private insurance. We cover independent insurance options separately.
Private Health Insurance For Companies
However, depending on how you look at it, the good news is that as an employee, you may not agree
A Guide For Expats: Health Insurance In Germany
If you have a job and earn less than €62,550 (in 2020), you are automatically obliged to take out public insurance. In fact, more than 90% of residents in Germany are in the public system.
Although they are all very similar in terms of what the law requires you to cover, there are some subtle differences in non-essential coverage that may be subject to additional charges. We will cover this later in the article.
Whether you can sign up and deal with them in English probably matters more if you've just moved and don't yet have the confidence to deal with correspondence in German.
We now delve into the details of who may be better served by the public health insurance system and who are better advised to go private.
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If youare an employee earning more than €62,550 and want to better understand your options, I would first suggest talking to a friendly, English-speaking insurance broker like Mirja Link-Lundehn from KL for Expats. .
Let's take a look at where it might make sense to choose one option over the other, before moving on to evaluate some other nuances and considerations that might be important to you.
As a higher salary, contributions to the public system would mean that it is relatively expensive (because, as we discussed in our article on how the German health system works, contributions for public health insurance are a percentage of the gross salary).
Whereas with private insurance the premium is based on risk and this person is young, in good health and has no dependent relatives.
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First, he is 15 years older. In almost all cases, a private health insurance would consider you a higher risk.
Second, he has two dependent children who he also needs to insure. For the sake of this example, let's assume that your spouse does not work full-time and therefore cannot insure her under his policy.
Ultimately, her move will likely be permanent. Let's not forget that as this person ages, their insurance will become a greater risk to the insurer and as such their premium will almost certainly increase over time. Irrelevant for a temporary stay, but a vitally important consideration for those making the move permanent.
Health insurance in Germany can seem expensive, and for most people it certainly is (unless you've lived in the US!)
How To Choose German Health Insurance
One of the reasons for this is the basic components of the German health insurance legislation. Insurers must make upfront contributions so that premium increases are gradual as patients age and therefore become a higher risk.
In simple terms, this means that when you are young and healthy, you subsidize the time when you are older and sick.
But what if you don't plan to make Germany your home forever? This is where the 5 year rule comes in.
Anyone who has been in the country for 5 years or less is not required to take out an advance policy to cover old age risks.
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Ottonova has developed a product that offers comprehensive private health insurance (in 3 coverage levels) to expats who want "adequate" health insurance but only plan to stay in Germany for less than 5 years.
Registrations and correspondence are 100% in English, they offer an app to find an English-speaking doctor and the terms and conditions of what is covered in the rates are much clearer to understand than a traditional German private health insurance policy.
Not to be confused with short term policies such as those offered by companies such as Mawista and Care Concept.
These policies may seem very cheap, but they are aimed at temporary residents such as au pairs and exchange students, or new arrivals who need health insurance during the residence permit application process.
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Private health insurers are not obliged to accept your application. If you have pre-existing conditions that make you a risky prospect in their eyes, they may deny you coverage.
If you find yourself in this group, it is best to contact a broker like our partners KL for Expats. They save you a lot of time and effort and advise you on which insurers (if any) to accept.
Be sure to keep these considerations in mind so you can find the best health insurance in Germany
Private health insurance, similar to other insurance products, will have a deductible or deductible to which the policyholder must contribute at the time of a claim. So, while public insurance covers you 100% of the cost of your policy coverage, private insurance may not even reimburse you if your medical bills are relatively low, because of your
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Non-essential treatments such as dentistry, alternative medicine, cosmetic surgery, chiropractic and physiotherapy, non-critical treatment for sports injuries, as well as nice extras such as a private room during a hospital stay are usually not covered by public insurance. Private health care can cover all of this if you are willing to pay for a more comprehensive policy.
While hospitals and doctors usually bill public insurers directly, private policyholders will have to pay their bills to each medical provider first and then file a claim with their insurer.
It is not as easy as you might think to switch providers within the private system. Your insurer will usually only allow you to cancel your cover if it increases the cost of your cover or changes your terms and conditions.
Private insurance policies often, but not always, have something called a premium refund or no claim bonus. The German word is
Public And Private Health Insurance Companies
. Depending on the policy, it can usually vary between 1 and 5 months of contributions in a given year.
There are many gesetzliche Krankenkassen, each with its own nuances and opt-in and specific advantages or disadvantages depending on what a person is specifically looking for.
German law states that all statutory health care requirements must be covered, such as hospital and outpatient care, treatment of chronic diseases and pre-existing conditions.
You will need to shop around to understand which of these may or may not be covered by different insurers.
Buying Private Health Insurance
This is a complex issue, so it is probably best initially to deal with an insurer that offers online communication in English.
Struggling with a lot of paperwork...German health insurers will usually send you a lot of letters...all written in German legal language (*ugh*) probably doesn't sound like your idea of fun.
No, it is generally not possible to switch from private to public health insurance in Germany. You cannot re-select if your insurance company increases the cost of the insurance policy. Otherwise, everyone would try to do it as they get older and sicker, and the whole system would become unsustainable.
There are some exceptions and other loopholes like this, but it is extremely complex and beyond the scope of this article.
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One last note to make sure you are aware of a European Union law that came into force at the end of 2012.
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