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We explain what both public and private health insurance arrangements in Germany and outside options can offer expats working in the country.
Health Insurance In Germany For International Students
Foreigners living in Germany are eligible for state healthcare, which is financed by social security contributions. But higher earners should sign up for private health insurance, which can provide shorter waiting times and better hospital conditions.
For International Students
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. Many migrants find themselves separated from family and loved ones in their home countries. As a foreigner, it is sometimes difficult to find important information about coronavirus infection rates, local measures and restrictions, and now, thankfully, vaccines.
The German healthcare system is one of the best in Europe. All foreigners living and working in Germany have access to subsidized state healthcare, but all residents are required to have some form of health insurance.
Once you have settled in Germany, the statutory German health insurance scheme (
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By law, all German residents must be insured for hospital and outpatient medical treatment, and proof of health insurance is mandatory when applying for a German visa.
The vast majority of German workers remain in the state German health insurance system, but in certain circumstances it is possible to take out more comprehensive private health insurance.
German health insurance contributions are split between employer and employee, whether you use a private or public plan.
Citizens working in Germany are subject to compulsory state health insurance (known as statutory sickness insurance, or
German Health Insurance Package For Internationals
The public health care system covers people who earn less than €60,750 per year (2019 figures), including apprentices and trainees in paid employment or professional training.
Spouses, civil partners and children (up to 23 years of age, or 25 if you are studying) of a person covered by state health insurance are eligible for family co-insurance under certain circumstances.
They do not need to pay contributions if their income does not exceed 415-450 per month, depending on the situation.
Previously, self-employed people paid their contributions based on an estimated monthly income of €2,284 - meaning low earners had to pay unreasonably high premiums.
Complete Health Insurance Overview For Scholarship Holders In Germany
Now, however, the minimum earnings limit has been reduced to €1,038, potentially cutting hundreds of pounds in contributions for low earners.
If you are studying at a state-approved university or educational institution in Germany, you will have to pay a premium for health and nursing care.
It is currently around €80 per month if you are over 25 and have no children. Until the age of 25, those in full-time education can be covered for free under their family's health insurance.
International students who are not covered by their home country's healthcare system and cannot join the state system (such as foreign graduate students) can access health insurance for around €25-30 per month.
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Citizens of the EU (European Union), EEA or Switzerland who are traveling to Germany or are temporary visitors are allowed the same healthcare as German citizens.
To be eligible for state healthcare, you need to get an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) before you arrive. Those who plan to stay or work in Germany for more than a year must either apply for German health insurance or join a private insurance company.
An expat-friendly insurance broker like Feather can help you find a health insurance plan that covers your medical needs in a language you understand.
Temporary visitors from outside the EU Member states may also be able to claim state healthcare under reciprocal agreements with their home countries. Otherwise, they will have to take out health care or travel insurance.
A Guide For Expats: Health Insurance In Germany
The basic services are available on board, but if you want private medical care or your own hospital room, you will need an additional private healthcare plan.
Some specialty care, such as eye care, dental care and alternative medicine is not available in the public system or comes with limitations on what you can claim. Mental health care in Germany is available in the public system, but you can find more comprehensive options privately.
If you choose to give birth in a private hospital, you should check whether it is covered by your private health insurance, and find out what you will have to pay for the delivery and care of the baby.
If you have state German health insurance, simple routine dental procedures (eg fillings, dental hygiene) or dental emergencies are more likely to be covered.
Health Insurance In Germany: A Guide For Expats
However, co-payments have increased pressure on the health care system. This means that the state is likely to offer only partial coverage for major dental work. Residents with private insurance should review their plan to see what dental coverage is offered. Companies that offer private dental insurance in Germany include:
Otherwise, dental insurance in Germany is either a supplement to your health insurance plan or a stand-alone form of insurance.
Dental insurance in Germany is generally low cost. It costs around €10-20 per month, although better coverage or lower co-payments will cost higher premiums.
) before you agree to any treatment, as well as what your dental insurance in Germany will cover.
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State health insurance includes an illness benefit with your employer paying your wages for up to six weeks. Your health insurer will pay 70% of your regular salary for a maximum of 78 weeks (over a three-year period) thereafter.
) pays up to €3,176 per month before tax. If you earn more than that, consider purchasing additional sick pay insurance.
Usually, your employer will register you with a regional German health insurance company. However, you are free to choose the insurer of your choice, and you can do so by informing your employer within two weeks of starting work.
This is usually a fairly simple process, and involves taking your passport and residence permit to a regional office and filling out forms.
How To Choose German Health Insurance
There are many German health insurance companies and international health insurance companies. Factors that can influence your decision are the insurer's contribution rate, additional services, ease of contact or availability of English language information.
GKV maintains an up-to-date list of all state German insurance companies, where you can compare health insurance rates.
One in 10 residents in Germany opts for private health insurance. About 40 companies oversee the private medical insurance market. As a result, there are many packages available for different budgets.
Whether you are eligible to switch from state to private health insurance funds depends largely on your employment status.
Health Insurance In Germany
If you earn less than €60,750 per year (or approximately €5,063 per month), you must remain in the statutory system.
Switching to private funds is not always advisable. Premiums are based on individual factors and prices increase with age, health risks and additional family members.
If you are young with some health problems and have sufficient income, switching to private insurance is a viable option.
However, if you have serious health problems and have trouble being accepted into a private plan in Germany, you can choose an alternative.
Health Insurance System For International Students In Germany
Membership of the insurance fund usually lasts for 18 months. You can usually change health insurance companies by giving two months notice before the expiration date of 18 months, or when a supplemental increase is announced or increased (usually reviewed annually).
In addition to more specialized treatment and better accommodation, you will have access to doctors who limit their practice to private patients.
This results in shorter waiting times and you don't need to make additional co-payments for the drug. If you have private insurance, it's much easier to find a doctor who speaks your language.
While contributions to state health insurance are based on your income, private health insurance contributions are based on your risk profile. This includes your age and medical history.
International Student Health Insurance Germany
If you choose to take the private route, you will usually pay the doctor's fees upfront and then ask for reimbursement later. Unlike state healthcare, any treatment is likely to be out of pocket for some time afterwards.
However, you will usually get a full refund, unlike state healthcare where you usually pay a portion of the cost.
In general, you can choose the level of your additional or reduced fees, where you choose to pay up to a certain amount each year (
There is no obligation to stay with the company for 18 months, although insurance company conditions may apply.
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There are many private health insurance companies operating in Germany. These include large multinational insurance companies as well as local German providers, which offer comprehensive and supplementary policies. German health insurance providers include:
You can compare private health insurance providers in Germany and get free quotes on our special health insurance page and with the following tools from GKV and PVK (in German).
German social security contributions cover healthcare costs, and around 120 insurers are responsible for managing state healthcare access.
In 2019, the state
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