Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Is The Best Public Health Insurance In Germany?
The best public health insurance in Germany is Techniker Krankenkasse (TK). TK one of the largest and most reputable health insurance companies in Germany. They are especially well-known for their service for expats/foreigners living in Germany.
Benefits of TK health insurance:
Services in English: If you do not speak fluent German then TK is a great option. It is one of the few German health insurance companies that has customer support available in English, a website in English, and application forms in English.
Lowest prices: TK has one of the lowest additional contribution rates.
Family insurance: Dependents (e.g. children and spouse) are included for free.
Coverage when traveling abroad: On the back of the TK health insurance card is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Use can use the EHIC at most public hospitals in European countries. Click here to see a list of all the European countries that accept this card.
Is Health Insurance In Germany Free?
No. Health insurance in Germany is NOT free. Both public health insurance and private health insurance cost money. The cost of public health insurance is based on your income. The cost of private health insurance is based on many different factors. These factors include your age, pre-existing health conditions, deductible and number of dependents.
Benefits Of Public Health Insurance
Less expensive when you’re older
The cost of public health insurance is based on your income. To the contrary, private health insurance is based on your age and health risks. Therefore, when you are older public health insurance will be the cheaper option. In addition, you will pay less for health insurance if you lose your job or retire.
Coverage for dependents
Public health insurance covers your dependents for no additional cost. In other words, your children and spouse can get coverage through your insurance and you don’t need to pay extra.
Easier to manage
Public health insurance is more straightforward than private health insurance. After you receive medical care, the doctors and insurance providers workout the payment between themselves. You don’t have to do anything. If the price increases for a necessary medical service you don’t need to take on any extra payments. You don’t have a deductible. It’s less to worry about and much easier to manage.
Disadvantages Of Public Health Insurance
More expensive for young working adults
Public health insurance is based on your income. Private health insurance is based on your age, health and number of dependents. If you are young, healthy, don’t have children and earn a high income then public insurance will cost more money than private insurance.
Longer waiting times
Germany has some of the lowest wait times for doctor’s appointments in Europe. Nevertheless, people with public health insurance will wait longer for doctors’ appointments than people with private health insurance.
Extra medical care not included
Medical care that is not considered necessary is not included under most plans. Examples include major dental work and private rooms in hospitals. You would have to pay out-of-pocket. Private insurance lets you choose your coverage, and therefore you can include speciality treatments.
Best Health Insurance For Students
Students can have private health insurance or public health insurance. The best public health insurance for students is TK, and Ottonova is the best private health insurance.
TK has one of the cheapest additional contribution rates. They also offer medical coverage outside of Germany, and they have an application specifically for students online! In addition, all of their services are available in English.
Ottonova has special rates specifically for expats. They are one of the cheapest private health insurance companies in Germany, and they also provide great coverage. Ottonova has a website in English and an app for your phone! You can apply online before you get to Germany and end your contract in just a few simple steps when you leave Germany.
Do I Need German Health Insurance?
Yes. In Germany health insurance is mandatory. Employees that earn less than 60,750€ per year have to be insured through the public healthcare system. If you are a state official, freelancer, student or you earn more than 60,750€ per year then you can apply for private health insurance. In 2020 the amount will increase to 62,550€. Click here to learn more.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you have public health insurance in Germany then in most cases you can get the EHIC. With the EHIC, you can go to public health hospitals and doctors in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The EHIC covers necessary medical care for a reduced price, or oftentimes, for free with public health hospitals and doctors.
Travel insurance is not the same as EHIC. That is to say, the EHIC does not cover private medical costs. For example, the EHIC does not cover mountain rescues and emergency helicopter rescues. If you travel abroad then health officials recommend travel insurance for private medical costs.
What Is The State Healthcare Contribution?
The state healthcare contribution is how you pay for your public health insurance. The government decides the amount. As of 2019, the state healthcare contribution is 14.6% of your income. You split this cost equally with your employer. In other words, you pay 7.3% and your employer pays 7.3%.
If you are a freelancer then you will have to pay the 14.6% contribution yourself. This is why many freelancers choose to have private health insurance instead.
What Is The Additional Contribution?
The additional healthcare contribution is the amount of money insurance companies charge you in addition to the state healthcare contribution. It is usually less than 1%.
The state healthcare contribution is the same for everybody. However, public health insurance company get to decide their own additional contribution rate. Therefore, your additional contribution rate depends on which health insurance company you have. Dependents (e.g. family members) do not pay an additional contribution rate. As of January 2019, the employee and employer split the additional healthcare contribution cost.
Example: The state healthcare contribution is 14.6%. You choose a health provider with an additional contribution rate of 0.8%. This means that your employer and you would split the total amount (15.4%) and each pay 7.7%.
In 2019 the average additional healthcare contribution rate was .9%. It is expected to increase in 2020 to 1.1%.
The copayments under public health insurance in Germany are very low.
Medicine – between 5 and 10€ copayment
Hospital stays – 10€ per day copayment
Medical care and rehabilitation for mothers and fathers – 10€ per day
Sociotherapy – 10% of the daily calendar costs
The German National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds sets the prices for copayments. You can click here to go to their website (in German) to see more prices for copayments.
Best Private Health Insurance In Germany
The best private health insurance in Germany for expats/foreigners is Ottonova. Ottonova has cheaper prices for expats and services in English. For example, their website and customer support are available in English. They also offer great coverage. For instance, Ottonova covers medication costs, prenatal courses, glasses and contact lenses, speciality treatments, outpatient and medical treatment. Click here to learn more about private health insurance in Germany.
Supplementary Health Insurance In Germany
Combining Private & Public Health Insurance
Supplementary health insurance in Germany is for people that have public health insurance but would like some of the coverage private health insurance offers. How? Private health insurance companies sell add-ons. These add-ons top off your public health insurance. For instance, your public health insurance might not cover dental care. Therefore, you could purchase dental insurance through a private health insurance company. Read more about private health insurance here.