Private Health Insurance Germany2021-07-28T20:42:52+02:00

Private Health Insurance Germany

Private health insurance in Germany is one of the two options in the German health care system. You can choose private health insurance in Germany (if you qualify for it, more about that later on) or public health insurance in Germany. This guide explains everything you need to know about private health insurance in Germany: how it works, how much it costs and which insurance company you should choose as a non-German speaker. Here you will find the answers to your questions!

How Does The German Health Care System Work?

Private & Public Health Insurance

Germany has a universal multi-payer health care system. In other words, everyone gets the medical care they need and everyone pays for health insurance. There are two types of health insurance in Germany: private health insurance and public (statutory/state) health insurance. Public health insurance and private health insurance in Germany have many different policies. For example, private health insurance might offer better benefits but it could also be more expensive if you need to include dependents (e.g. children) on your plan. Furthermore, private health insurance in Germany might cover major dental work while public health insurance in Germany might only cover a cleaning.


One of the first things you need to do when you’re moving to Germany is get health insurance. Health insurance is compulsory for everyone living in Germany – not voluntary! Depending on your situation, however, you might be able to choose between private health insurance or public health insurance. Also, normally non-EU citizens have to show proof of valid German health insurance to apply for a visa/residency permit to live in Germany. Therefore, it is really important to check that your health insurance provider meets all the requirements for a visa/residency permit.  

It is also important to note that even if you have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your home country, you still have to get Germany health insurance. You cannot use the EHIC as a substitute for German health insurance while you live in Germany. The European Health Insurance Card is for temporary visitors, not permanent residents. 

Leading Healthcare System

Germany has one of the best healthcare systems of any country in the world! Whether you’re in a big city like Berlin or a small town like Würzburg, you will have great healthcare. This guide is full of useful info to answer your questions and help you choose the best health insurance in Germany for yourself! Find a health insurance company the will cover your health needs.

*Sometimes you will find private health insurance written as PKV. Public health insurance is sometimes written as GKV or SHI (Statutory Health Insurance).

How Does Private Health Insurance In Germany Work?

How To Pay For Medical Care

Private health insurance in Germany works very differently from public health insurance. If you choose private health insurance then the doctor/hospital will send you an invoice for your doctor’s visit and any treatments you received. Then you will send this invoice to your insurance company. You can usually do this through their app. Your insurance company will review the invoice. Then they will send you a reimbursement. Then you will pay the doctor/hospital. 


About 11% of people have private health insurance in Germany. The remaining 89% of people have public health insurance. This is partly because not everyone can apply to have private health insurance. If you’re eligible for private health insurance in Germany then you might be able to save a lot of money. There are many advantages of private health insurance. For example, wait times are shorter for a doctor’s appointment for patients that have private health insurance. In addition, private health insurance offers more extensive coverage. You can usually make an appointment to see a specialist without having a referral from a primary physician if you have private health insurance.

Monthly Premium

It’s important to note that premiums for private health insurance in Germany sometimes get more expensive as you get olderThis is because you are at a higher risk to have more health problems as you age. Therefore, how much you have to pay for private health insurance increases. In contrast, the cost of public health insurance is tied to your income. As a result, how much you pay for public health insurance only changes if your income changes. 

What Is Covered By Private Health Insurance In Germany?

Comprehensive Coverage

Private health insurance in Germany offers broader coverage for medical care than public health insurance. For example, many private health insurance companies offer better coverage for dental treatments than public health insurance companies. In addition, patients with private health insurance in Germany have better access to private practice doctors, private rooms in hospitals and alternative treatments. Private health insurance is helpful for expats because you can usually ask to be seen by a doctor that speaks your language.

An advantage of having private health insurance in Germany is that you can personalize your plan so that it best fits your needs. Overall private health insurance policies cover outpatient medical treatment, emergency ambulance transportation, speciality treatments, doctor’s fees, vision aids (e.g. glasses) and prescription medications. 

Supplementary Coverage

Private health insurance in Germany offers supplementary coverage. In other words, you can top off your public health insurance with private health insurance. For example, if you would like premium dental care then you can buy supplementary private health insurance.

Coverage For Dependents

If you have private health insurance in Germany then you have to pay for each person that you want to insure individually. In other words, not everyone in your family can be covered under your insurance policy. If you want coverage for your children then you need to pay for each child separately. For instance, let’s say you need to get health insurance for your 3 children, your spouse and yourself. In this case you would have to pay for 5 different premiums. In contrast, public health insurance covers all non-working dependents under one premium.

Who Is Able To Apply For Private Health Insurance In Germany?

Not everyone can apply for private health insurance in Germany. If you work as an employee earning over 60,750€ per year (2019) then you can apply for private health insurance. Freelancers and state officials are also eligible to be part of the private healthcare sector. Students can choose between public and private health insurance in Germany at the beginning of their studies. 

How Much Does German Private Health Insurance Cost?

Age & Pre-existing Health Conditions

The cost of private health insurance in Germany depends on many different factors. It is mostly based on your age. However, there are additional charges if you have pre-existing health conditions. For example, all 30 year olds would pay the same base rate for health insurance. However, a pre-existing condition such as asthma would increase the cost of someone’s heath insurance. In theory, the younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your private health insurance in Germany will be. If you have many pre-existing health conditions then private health insurance might be more expensive.

Number Of Dependents

The number of dependents you need to insure affects how much you have to pay. If you have private health insurance in Germany then you have to pay a premium for each person on your plan. Therefore, the cost of private health insurance increases if you have more dependents. For example, if need to insure yourself and also 4 dependents (e.g. 3 children and a non-working spouse) then you would have to pay 5 different premiums. In contrast, public health insurance covers all of your dependents (e.g. children) under one premium. If you have a large family then public health insurance might be the cheaper option. 


You can adjust how much you pay each month for private health insurance in Germany. One way to do this is through your deductible. You can lower the cost of your monthly payment by increasing your deductible (also known as excess). A deductible is the amount you pay for all your medicals bills before your insurance pays. For example, if your deductible is 500€ and you have a 1,200€ surgery then you would pay 500€ and your insurance would pay the remaining 700€. The higher your deductible, the less you pay each month. 

If you are young, have a high income, and don’t have many dependents or pre-existing health conditions then private health insurance is the cheapest option.

People that have very high incomes in Germany often choose private health insurance. This is because how much you pay for public health insurance is based off your income. If you have a high income then you’ll pay a lot for public health insurance. So for many people private health insurance is the best option.

Furthermore, expats can get cheaper rates for private health insurance. It’s worth noting, however, that it is very difficult to switch back to public health insurance. Therefore, you should consider how long you plan on staying in Germany and if you have dependents you need to insure.

Which German Private Health Insurance Should You Choose?

Cheaper Prices For Expats

Ottonova is the best option for private health insurance. They have cheaper prices for expats. How? Well, normally private insurance companies charge you an extra fee each month, and then they set this money aside for the future. In theory, they do this so that your premiums don’t skyrocket later in life. But if you’re only living in Germany for a short time then you don’t need to set aside this extra money. Ottonova’s expat price doesn’t charge you this extra fee for private health insurance since you won’t be living in Germany the rest of your life.

Services In English

In addition, all of Ottonova’s services are designed to make things easy. All of their services are available in English and online. They also have an app and English customer support you can contact with all of your questions 24/7. You can call them or get help straight from the app. Ottonova is a great option for expats because they meet all the health insurance requirements to apply for a visa/residency permit in Germany. One less thing you have to worry about!

Great Coverage

Lastly, Ottonova offers great coverage. Their health insurance policies cover medication costs, prenatal courses, glasses and contact lenses, speciality treatments, outpatient medical treatment, and much more. You can click here to calculate your individual premium.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the basic advantages of private health insurance?2021-07-28T13:26:48+02:00

With private health insurance there are basically the following advantages over statutory health insurance: The benefits in your private health insurance are contractually stipulated and cannot be reduced as in statutory health insurance. This happens almost annually there and is nothing more than an indirect increase in premium, as the benefits decrease, but your premium remains the same. private health insurance is fairer towards the generations. With so-called aging reserves, which are set up in your contract, you finance your own costs in old age and do not burden the next generation with this, as is the case with statutory health insurance. Even if the price is not the biggest driver of your decision, in many cases private health insurance is also cheaper than statutory health insurance. Especially if you are a high earner and earn above the income threshold (2020: 56,250 euros per year). And last but not least, in many areas, such as dentures or inpatient treatment, you have much better benefits than a person with statutory health insurance

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