Health Care in Germany
The German health care system is one of the best in the world. Everyone is required to be insured and this insurance covers a large range of medical care across the board from General Practitioners, Specialists, preventative measures to dental. Depending on where you are coming from you may find the German System very extensive, it offers some excellent options for not just the treatment but also prevention of illness and general wellbeing for body, mind and spirit.
There are two types of insurance in Germany, Statutory Health Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and Private Health Insurance (Private Krankenversicherung). It is mandatory to have medical insurance, which insurance you are eligible for depends on your income.
The criteria is as follows, Statutory Health Insurance is compulsory if you are:
- in paid employment or in vocational training, including trainees and apprentices, and earn less than €57,600 per year (2017 figures);
- pensioners who have been insured for a sufficient period of time;
- receiving unemployment benefits or assistance;
- in some form of youth assistance (Jugendhilfe);
- students in an approved higher education institution;
- farmers or assisting family members;
- artists, writers and those in publishing professions (under the Artists Social Welfare Act);
- have no other access to healthcare services (under certain conditions).
Spouses, civil partners and children (up to age 23, or 25 if studying) of someone covered by state healthcare insurance are eligible for family co-insurance in certain conditions, without having to pay contributions, provided their income does not exceed €415–450 each month, depending on the situation (casual or regular, respectively).
If you earn above the 57,600€ a year then you are open to choose Private Health Insurance. The benefits of private health insurance can definitely be Doctors/appointments being more readily available and access more senior staff at hospitals. Private health insurance is more expensive and it requires you to pay for spouses and children separately. Once you have been privately insured in Germany, it is difficult to almost impossible to change back into the Statutory Insurance – this is important to consider this when deciding whether to choose private insurance because if you have a change in financial circumstances you are bound to the higher premiums.
It is always advisable to look into various Insurance companies and see what they offer, make some comparisons and consider if they have specific offers which are compatible with your needs. Especially if you are looking to ensure a partner/spouse and/or children that you are being offered the best package. Under the Statutory Insurance families can often be insured with the employee.
The costs of Statutory health insurance are 14.6% of your income before tax (this is subject to change) – you pay around half of this and the employer pays the rest.
The costs of private health insurance are determined by various factors including your gender, age, current health and also your medical history. It is also important to note, if you are privately insured you will be billed by the doctor or medical institution and then subsequently reimbursed by your insurance, so there will be a time period in between where you are out of pocket until the reimbursement.
There are websites which offer comparisons of the different health insurance companies, you will need to enter in your data regarding your income, family situation, etc and they will give you an overview of the costs and what is offered.
About the author
Hi there! I’m Juli, I have German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.