Expats living and working in Germany as foreigners need to know a few things about the health system in the country. In the following, you will get a brief overview on what to take into account. There can be major differences for EU-, Non-EU and US-Expats. For the latter, please visit the extra info section on our website.
Health insurance for expats in Germany
Germany has a statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung – GKV). If you are working in the country and your annual salary is less than 64.350 Euro, you are automatically paying into the system and get an insurance card. It covers a wide range of health needs from visits to doctors, hospitals and medicine. However, for some services like advanced dental care or for some prescriptions additional contributions are required. If you want more services covered, there are additional, voluntary insurances.
For EU citizens coming to Germany temporarily, there is no obligation to take out an insurance. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid in this case, unless you register in the country.
Non-EU citizens need to provide a valid German health insurance upon arrival. Otherwise a residence permit will not be granted. Only for international students there are some exceptions, which depend on the country of origin.
One advantage of the statutory health insurance in Germany is, that it covers nursing care insurance, sick leave, child sickness and maternity benefits. Still, you should be careful as these services can have gaps or only come with very basic benefits. It can be useful to take out additional insurances for daily sickness allowance or incapacity.
Employers need to pay half of the costs (excluding additional fees), the employer takes the other half. The maximum individual contribution per month is 323,03 Euro for health care and 56,42 Euro for the nursing care.
The biggest statutory health insurances in Germany are:
- AOK (Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse – 27 million policyholders)
- TK (Techniker Krankenkasse – 10 million)
- Barmer (9 million)
- DAK Gesundheit (Deutsche Angestellten-Krankenkasse – 5.6 million)
Private health insurances in Germany
For employees with higher incomes and self-employed workers such as entrepreneurs or freelancers there are private health insurances (Private Krankenversicherung – PKV) as an alternative to the statutory ones. Depending on the contract, more advanced and alternative treatments are included. In governmental hospitals this can include head doctor treatment or single-bed rooms. Additionally, there are private hospitals, which do not treat policy holders of statutory health insurances.
One big difference is, that the fee for the statutory health insurance is based on the salary, while privade health insurances calculate their tariffs and services independetly. That is, why they can be cheaper but have the risk of rising rates.
For artists, there are some special regulations with the artists’ social fund (Künstlersozialkasse).
Once in a private health insurance, a return to the statutory health insurance is only possible after significant changes of personal circumstances. It can be very costly.
Work-related insurances in Germany
Like with the statutory health insurance, there are mandatory insurances for employees, which are split half-half with the employer. This includes:
- Unemployment insurance in case the employee loses the job (it is linked to certain conditions)
- Pension insurance for the time after retirement
The accident insurance is completely covered by the employer and pays for medical treatment after work-related casualties.
Other insurances for Expats in Germany
While the health insurance is the only mandatory insurance for living in Germany, it is recommended to take out some more insurances and reduce financial risks.
Personal liability insurance
It is not mandatory, but everyone is recommended to have a personal liability insurance. Self-employed people should consider a business liability insurance, too. It covers damages caused by you (or family members) to other persons or their property. Only damages done by car are not covered.
Car liability insurance
As soon as you want to drive a car, this kind of liability is mandatory. It will cover damages caused by you while using or driving your car. Other than the personal liability insurance, it is not connected to an individual but the car itself. This means: If someone else drives your car, it is still your car liability insurance paying for damages. The car insurance can be extended by two additional services:
- The partial coverage refunds damages on your car caused by casualties like storm, fire, falling rocks or theft attempt.
- The comprehensive coverage even pays for damages on your car, if you caused the accident.
Depending on your personal situation, there are numerous insurances for different purposes. In the following you find a selection of some of the most popular ones:
- Occupational disability insurance
- Personal accident insurance
- Legal insurance
- Household contents insurance
- Building insurance
- Life insurance
Whether you need a health insurance (statutory or private), additional services or any other of the mentioned insurances: We are here to guide you through this confusing jungle. Together we will will evaluate your needs and find the best offers for you. With us on your side, you will reduce your financial risks for calculable costs. Just contact us and we will arrange a meeting.