Germany Private Health Insurance

What foreigners need to know about health insurance in Germany

As part of a package of services for the international community, The Eye Newspapers (owners of The Germany Eye and The Munich Eye) have negotiated preferential deals for foreigners seeking to insure themselves in Germany. Whether that be health insurance, or personal liability insurance, or some other form of insurance, we believe that we have partnered with one of the most responsive insurers who have made it their business to understand the expatriate community and their unique needs. This includes superb coverage, friendly English-language customer service and expertise in smoothing the process of acquiring the best health insurance for you, and if necessary, your family.
It is a legal requirement in Germany to possess health insurance. Whether that is private health insurance, or public health insurance, all citizens who reside in the country are legally obliged to insure themselves through an accredited German insurance company.
The Eye Newspapers is working closely with these insurers to identify the best ways to make the application and service process as simple and user-friendly as possible: and for this we always welcome customer feedback.

How Does Health Insurance Work in Germany?

In Germany there are two types of health insurance, provided for by over 100 companies (in German called Krankenkasse). As health insurance is compulsory, you are obliged to take one of these two options (although it is also possible, but not as common to combine the two).

The first is open to all and is referred to as:
Public Health Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, GKV).

The second option, whose availability depends on your salary, is called:
Private Health Insurance (Private Krankenversicherung, PKV)

So what is the difference?

The first and main difference, is that you can only acquire Private Health Insurance if you earn over 60,750.00 Euro per annum (as of 2019). If you earn less than this you are obligated to take Public Health Insurance. The second major difference is that PKV offers a higher quality of service. For example some of the perks of being privately insured include:
  • more extensive medication options
  • less people to share a hospital room with in the event of hospital admittance
  • some doctors only accept PKV-insured new patients
  • often little difference in cost compared to Public Health Insurance
However, there are some downsides to choosing PKV:
  • it can get relatively more expensive as you get older and experience more ailments and declining health
  • you need to claim the payments directly from the insurer, which means filling in forms in German usually (although The Eye Newspapers promotes English-speaking-friendly insurers - fill out the form below to find out more)
  • dependents are not covered
  • some doctors can potentially prescribe you more medication that you might want, as they know your insurance will cover the extra medication costs
Public Health Insurance is usually a better option if you are married (with a partner who is not earning a salary) and/or have children, as they will be covered under your insurance. The amount you pay is calculated as 14.6% of your annual gross salary and this cost is shared equally between your employer and you. Note that your employer will also pay half if you choose to acquire Private Health Insurance.
Not all hospitals or doctors are covered under the GKV system, so do check before accepting treatment anywhere. Additionally, although both insurance types cover vacation treatment abroad, you will need to check that the country you are visiting is included in their coverage. PKV, relative to GKV, offers the more extensive list of countries where you can receive treatment.

What happens next?

To the right of this page, there are links to articles covering various aspects of German health insurance, both public and private. Read them to gain a deeper understanding of how the system in Germany works. Once you are ready, you need to ask yourself the following questions to help you decide on which type of insurance is best for you:
  • do I have dependents?
  • Am I fine with sharing a hospital ward with other patients (PKV offers more privacy in this regard, depending on your contract)
  • do I need English-language services (PKV again offers more choice here in finding a suitable doctor)?
  • am I likely to start a family in the very near future or bringing to Germany my non-employed legal partner?
  • do I earn over the annual salary threshold to qualify for Private Health Insurance?
When taking these questions into account, you can better decide on which type of insurance is best for you.
Now that you are more familiar with the requirements and various aspects of the different types of health insurance, then fill out the form below to have more information sent to you or an agent to call you. As this service is run in conjunction with The Eye Newspapers, we are here to support you each step of the way, to ensure you receive the best possible service, in English. You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy our partners have made the process for The Eye Newspaper readers such as yourself.

Use this form to request more information
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