Health Insurance in Germany: which are the options? 

Health insurance is mandatory for everybody living in Germany. So if you come to live here, you will have to know how the health system works. There are many possibilities to get health insurance. Which one is the best depends on your employment situation and on the passport you hold. 


Characteristics of the German healthcare system

Generally, Germany’s healthcare system has an excellent international reputation for its extensive network of doctors and hospitals that offer quick access to treatments and medicines when they are needed. However, this extensive medical care is costly, to the point of placing the German among one of the most expensive medical systems in the world.

The German health insurance system consists of two main parts: the statutory health insurance and private health insurance.  


Who has access to German healthcare?

To gain access to public health insurance in Germany, you have to be a resident in Germany. Non-residents only have access to the private health insurances offered by numerous private insurance providers. People visiting temporarily will have to pay for their treatment themselves. 

People from either the European Union, Switzerland, or the European Economic Area living in Germany temporarily, are covered under their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). EU citizens who live in Germany for a longer period have to get German health insurance. 


Statutory health insurance

All employees with an income below the so-called “Einkommenspflichtgrenze”, a minimum income limit (2020: 62.550 €), by law fall into the statutory health insurance category. You can choose your health insurance company from a relatively wide variety of statutory health insurance providers. All statutory health insurance funds have nearly the same catalog of services, which defines about 96% of the services. 

The monthly premiums for all statutory health insurance companies follow the same contribution rates. Family members without income can be co-insured without having to pay contributions. That accounts for non-working spouses, underage children, or university students until the age of 25.  

People with statutory health insurance do not have to advance the costs of treatment. The medical providers settle directly with health insurance companies.


How are monthly premiums calculated?

For employees, the premiums are based on their gross income. The general contribution rate lies at 14.6% of the gross income per month. There is an additional contribution that varies between individual health insurance companies. 

Employers and employees both pay an equal part of 50 % of the monthly premium to the insurance company.  


Private health insurance

Employees with an income above the “Einkommenspflichtgrenze”, self-employed workers or civil servants, can opt for private health insurance. The premiums for private health insurance depend on the individual health situation and the entry age. This can lead to considerable differences in contributions, which can even lay below those of the statutory health insurance.

A vital factor to consider for a type of insurance is the many benefits for privately insured people. Private health insurances offer a much broader catalog of services that differs for each insurance provider. It covers services in addition to the mandatory benefits and offers rates that also cover unconventional treatments.  

However, private health insurance can refuse members. Also, individual insurance must be taken out for each family member. During parental leave or prolonged illness, contributions must usually continue to be paid in full.

The insured person pays the costs of the necessary medical services directly to the health care provider. He then has to file for reimbursement with the insurance company providing the invoices. 


How are monthly premiums calculated?

The private companies are not based on the insured’s income but on the risk profile of illness of a person, the current state of health, and the benefits they wish to obtain


If you’re new to the country or planning to move soon, HereLocation is here to help you decide which health insurance option is the best one for you. Our partner insurance specialists are going to find the best insurance provider for you. Contact us now to learn more about our support option, including our additional services covering every aspect of your relocation to Germany.