German Health Insurance

Having health insurance in Germany is mandatory. There are two types offered in Germany, national health insurance and private health insurance. There are a few very important differences between the two and it is important to make a wise choice to match best your needs. Health insurance contributions are equally shared by employee and employer regardless of which plan you choose.

State health insurance

Most foreigners (and Germans as well) are obliged to have state health insurance coverage. You receive a small chip card, which you need to present at the doctors or dentists surgeries in order to be treated. Your health plan pays the bills automatically so you are not required to pay in advance. One big advantage of the state coverage is that spouses and children who do not have their own income are included in your plan at no extra charge. Disadvantages include longer waiting periods for doctors’ appointments; the companies do not pay for hospital rooms with 2 or 3 roommates and some treatments and medications. Not all dental work is covered in this plan.

Prescription drugs are included in your plan, however, they must be generics. Over the counter drugs, such as aspirin, are not covered in your plan. The health insurance rates charged by the companies are 15.5% of your gross monthly salary up to a maximum salary amount of 3,938 Euros.  Hospitalization costs are covered but you will be charged with a 10 Euro per day surplus, payable upon discharge. You are also required to have a mandatory nursing care insurance which costs 2.3 percent of your income, a maximum of 80 Euros per month.

Members of the national health plan can take out a supplemental insurance for dental work, private doctors, private hospital accommodation, orthodontic work, alternative medicine etc. for an extra cost. There are many different companies that offer this kind of supplementary insurance, so it is advisable to shop around to find the best insurance company for your personal needs.

Private Insurance

Choosing a private health insurance gives you a more extensive coverage. However, it is not available to everyone. If you earn less than 50,850 Euros a year, or do not meet the health check requirements, you will not be eligible to join this plan. Having a private plan entitles you to have preferred status while making doctors’ appointments, getting treatment and medication that is not included in the national compulsory plan or to be able to choose a single room during hospitalization, just to mention a few points. Disadvantages include the fact that each person has to pay his own premium, meaning that spouses and children can only be included in your plan at an extra cost.

You are not required to pay additional fees for quarterly visits to the doctors’ surgery or for prescription medicine. However, if privately insured, you are sent the bills for doctor's fees and medicine costs. You must pay the bill and send the receipts to your insurance company for reimbursement. There are many different companies and even more different options. It is important to shop around to get the best rate for what you need.

For a complete overview of health insurance in Germany (offered in German and English) please go to .

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