Private Health Insurance for Expats in Germany: Your Top 30 Questions Answered

Updated on
April 12, 2024
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1. Do I need private health insurance as an expat in Germany?

In most cases, yes. In Germany, possessing health insurance is a legal requirement, even for expats holding temporary visas.
Private health insurance is required if you're not eligible for statutory health insurance.

2. How do I qualify for statutory health insurance in Germany?

Generally, you meet the criteria if you're employed in Germany or hold a civil servant position. If your annual income exceeds €69,300 or €5,757 per month (2024), you become an voluntary member of the German healthcare system, granting you the option to select either public or private health insurance.

3. What's the difference between public and private health insurance in Germany?

In Germany, public health insurance offers family coverage, income-based fees, and direct billing at medical facilities. Private health insurance provides better service, individual treatment choices, extended coverage, quicker doctor appointments, tax deductions and lower costs for high earners. However, switching back to public insurance can be difficult, and family members aren't automatically covered. Private insurance may impact a spouse's public insurance fees, involves more paperwork, and requires upfront payments for later reimbursement.

4. How much does private health insurance cost for expats in Germany?

Private health insurance expenses in Germany are subject to considerable variation, influenced by factors such as age, health status, chosen coverage, and deductible preferences. On average, monthly fees typically fall within the range of 100 to 700 euros. If you are employed and earn above the 2024 threshold of €69,300 annually, your employer will contribute 50% towards your monthly premium.

5. Can I keep my home country's health insurance in Germany?

Certainly, you can travel to Germany without an issue. However, once you establish residency in Germany, it becomes mandatory to possess health insurance that aligns with and fulfills German legal requirements.

6. Is dental care covered by private health insurance?

Dental coverage varies. Some policies include it, while others offer it as an add-on.

7. Can I choose my own doctors with private health insurance?

Yes, private insurance  allows you to choose your healthcare providers.

8. Are pre-existing conditions covered by private health insurance?

Coverage for pre-existing conditions varies by provider and policy. Most private insurances dont oboard you if you have pre-existing conditions.

9. How do I make a claim with private health insurance in Germany?

Certainly, you usually have a few options for sending in your claims: online, through a mobile app, or by regular mail. You can send them through your insurance broker or directly to the insurance company. Just make sure to keep all your bills and receipts well-organized.

10. What does private health insurance cover in Germany?

Coverage typically includes doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, and specialist consultations.

11. Is maternity care covered by private health insurance?

Maternity coverage may be optional, so check your policy if you plan to have a child.

12. Do I need long-term care insurance in addition to private health insurance?

Yes, As we all might require care at some stage in life, whether due to aging, accidents, illnesses, or disabilities, having long-term care insurance is a requirement.

13. Can I include family members in my private health insurance policy?

Yes, you can typically include family members like a spouse and children in your policy, but each family member will have their individual premiums. Additionally, if you're employed, your employer may provide a contribution to assist in covering your family's premiums.

14. Does private health insurance cover prescription medications?

You'll receive reimbursements for treatment expenses related to illnesses, accidents, and prescribed medications. Private health insurance typically offers broader coverage for additional services and higher reimbursement amounts for treatment expenses compared to statutory health insurance.

15. How does the excess (deductible) work with private health insurance?

Opting for a higher deductible means you're willing to cover a specific amount of your treatment costs each year. Adding a deductible to your private health insurance policy is a strategy to reduce your monthly premiums.

16. Is mental health care covered by private health insurance in Germany?

Mental health coverage varies by policy. Some plans offer it as part of their services.

17. What is the waiting period for coverage with private health insurance?

Typically, this waiting period ranges from three months (standard) to eight months (optional waiting period). But if you experience an accident during this time, your treatment will likely still be covered.

18. Can I switch insurance providers in Germany?

There are no expenses or charges associated with switching health insurance providers in Germany. You merely apply for membership with your selected provider. It's always advisable to consult with an insurance broker for comparison.

19. Can I use my private health insurance while traveling internationally?

Depending on your policy, you might need separate travel insurance for international coverage.

20. Is preventive care, like vaccinations and screenings, covered by private health insurance?

Many policies cover preventive care, but the extent of coverage can vary.

21. What is the process for filing a health insurance claim?

To initiate a claim, you generally have to furnish invoices or receipts from medical services. Nowadays, these can be conveniently handled through the company's app. Alternatively, you can reach out to your insurance broker or the insurance company for precise guidance.

22. Can I choose my preferred hospital with private health insurance?

Yes, private insurance often allows you to select the hospital or clinic where you receive treatment.

23. What if I need to see a specialist?

You can visit specialists without needing a referral from a primary care doctor with private health insurance.

24. Is emergency medical care covered?

Emergency medical care, including ambulance services and ER visits, is fully covered by private health insurance.

25. Are there any restrictions on pre-existing conditions?

Some policies may have waiting periods or exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

26. Can I tailor my coverage to my specific needs?

Private health insurance often offers customization options, allowing you to tailor your coverage to your requirements.

27. What happens if I miss a premium payment?

Missing premium payments can result in a lapse of coverage. Contact your insurer to discuss options if you're facing financial difficulties.

28. Can I cancel my private health insurance at any time?

You can generally cancel your policy, but be aware of notice periods and potential penalties.

29. Are vaccinations for children included in private health insurance?

Vaccinations for children are often covered by private health insurance as part of preventive care.

30. How often can I review and adjust my policy's coverage?

You can usually review and adjust your policy's coverage on an annual basis to ensure it meets your changing needs.

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