If you are a resident of Germany, you must have health insurance; it's the law. It can either be private or compulsory health insurance. While most people are interested in getting private health insurance in Germany, not everyone can qualify.
You can sign up for private health insurance if you are a freelancer, self-employed, civil servant or earn above a certain amount each month. However, not everyone who qualifies for private health insurance chooses to take it. That's because Germany has a reputation of offering excellent public healthcare schemes, so going private doesn't seem like a lot to gain for some people.
However, private insurance sometimes means additional services and a higher level of care. The private scheme offers insurance based on health and age and has different packages depending on particular eventualities. So you can pay for what you need depending on your lifestyle and avoid being over- or under-insured.
It’s possible to be on the compulsory or public scheme and add some private elements to it, like dental insurance. People with private insurance can access a greater choice of hospitals and doctors. So if you decide to go for private, you first have to do extensive research on the costs and terms of the coverage. This guide will tell you what there is to learn about private health insurance in Germany.
Who Is Eligible For Private Health Insurance?
To be eligible for private healthcare insurance in Germany, you must exceed the income threshold of € 66,600 per year or €5,550 per month in 2023. You will be allocated to the statutory healthcare scheme if you earn below that threshold. Students usually over 23 and under 30 can also be eligible for the private scheme. Other qualified members include civil servants, freelancers, and self-employed individuals.
Most private insurance providers require a medical assessment before they qualify you for coverage. If you have pre-existing conditions that are too severe, the provider can deny your application. This is one reason some people stick to public health insurance.
Luckily, German law requires private health providers to have a basic plan based on the applicant's age. This can be a chance for you to get basic coverage with a range of benefits compared to public health insurance.
When you qualify for private insurance, the provider will tailor the coverage depending on your needs. That’s why the premiums differ from one person to another. Private companies offer supplementary or full comprehensive health insurance packages. Choosing between the two can be challenging.
If you are publicly insured and want to add some benefits to your coverage, you need to see if you qualify for supplementary private health insurance. You won't know what a specific plan offers until you contact the provider. Whichever insurance plan you qualify for should be something you can comfortably afford and provide excellent value.
How Private Health Insurance in Germany Works
You pay for the insurance plan every month, and when you get sick, the insurance covers your healthcare. The private plans cover a wide range of dental- and medical treatments. The comprehensive coverage includes visits to doctors and specialists, in-hospital treatment, health-checks, prescriptions, and medications. Most doctors and hospitals welcome private insurance patients because they supplement their incomes.
Despite the broader range of hospitals and doctors, private insurance holders experience shorter waiting times. The private plans come with several benefits compared to the government insurance plans. You might also find a doctor who speaks your native language.
You can cover each person that needs coverage on the private scheme. But the government scheme only protects you and your non-working dependants. However, you must avoid limited-term policies that don't require medical underwriting.
Finding new coverage after the limited term expires might be more expensive and difficult. Immigration authorities will not recognize such a plan you may have bought upon getting to Germany. You will require a permanent health plan to stay. Go for a permanent plan from the start to avoid inconveniences like penalty fees.
Limited-term policies might not cover pre-existing conditions and sometimes don’t offer permanent extensions. People with pre-existing conditions are considered risky customers by most private insurance providers. So the companies might reject such applicants.
You have to tell the company you are applying to of any surgeries, chronic conditions, and your overall well-being. It might not result in an all-out rejection, but the company might add charges to accommodate pre-existing conditions.
Around forty insurance companies are serving the German private market. The amount of money you pay to your provider depends on age, occupation, pre-existing conditions, and the plan you choose to go for. If you are employed, part of your contribution will be covered by your employer. But when you are self-employed, you will have to pay for everything yourself.
Agreeing to a deductible can significantly reduce the monthly cost of your private insurance. A large part of private insurance premiums is tax deductible from income taxes from 2010. Looking for the cheapest offer in the market is not the way to go when looking for private insurance. Remember, you are looking for crucial financial support after an accident or in times of illness.
That's why you should consider the policy coverage that benefits you the most. Do not forget to go over the terms and conditions if you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on. Take your time to decide, especially when you want to purchase a permanent private scheme.
You can switch between private providers after at least one year with the same company. But it also depends on the provider’s terms and conditions.
What Does Private Healthcare Insurance In Germany Cost?
Private health insurance plans hugely differ in costs, unlike public health insurances. Publicly insured people pay almost the same in contribution. The premiums in the private sector depend on the applicant’s health and age. The insurance cost will also vary depending on the coverage plan you choose.
There are several types of insurance plans that offer different quality, price, and terms of coverage. Private insurance will become costly when you have pre-existing conditions, or your general health is not in a great place. When you join when you are healthy and young, the cost will be relatively low.
The costs of insurance might go up after a while. But both private and public health insurance providers can only increase the rates if they show the healthcare cost has gone up. You should expect the price to rise over the years, but it shouldn't be drastic.
On the other hand, the most basic package is meant for people who only require emergency or essential care services. There is no need to pay a lot of money each month without receiving any benefits in return. When you want to limit out-of-pocket expenses as much as possible, sometimes going with the comprehensive cover is the best choice.
Private health insurance in Germany can be expensive and vary widely in cost. Premiums are calculated based on the risk profile of the patient, which means that those with chronic conditions and older individuals usually pay higher premiums. For example, a young, healthy person could pay as little as €175 per month, while high-risk patients might have to pay premiums as high as €1,500 per month. The average premium for private health insurance ranges from €400 to €700 per month, with students paying significantly less. If you are employed, your employer may cover approximately 50% of your contributions, up to a maximum of approximately €403.99 per month in 2023. However, if you are self-employed, you will have to cover the entire premium yourself. Choosing a high deductible plan can help you save on monthly premiums, but it is important to have enough savings to cover the deductible if necessary and to be in good health.
You can see our health insurance calculator here.
Private Insurance for Different Applicants
As you already know, there are different layers of private insurance schemes. Understanding how it looks for different applicants can help you decide if going private is the right move.
Here is how private health insurance in Germany looks for different people.
If you start earning over €66,600 per year, you are eligible to switch to private insurance from mandatory public health insurance. If you choose to stay with the public scheme as a voluntary member, you will always pay the maximum amount, but there won't be different or additional benefits.
You must provide a two-month notice before switching to a private insurance company. The good news is you can still enjoy employer subsidies towards your private health coverage. The company will give you a certificate that will help you keep enjoying the subsidies. This will help you manage the overall cost of private healthcare insurance.
Self-employed applicants may find that private insurance offers more benefits and might be cost-effective in the long run. Compulsory health insurance can be costly for self-employed people. The private sector provides more considerations and flexibility that might be beneficial. The private premiums are not based on income alone.
A lot goes into insuring a family, and it takes careful consideration. Private insurance is usually costly for a large family with several children. The monthly payments for comprehensive or even basic cover can be overwhelming. But single families with two incomes benefit a lot from a private scheme. If you have students in the family, put them on speciality covers made for students to reduce the costs. It's all about knowing the numbers before you make any decisions for the family.
4. Civil Servants
Civil servants can be eligible for both private and compulsory health insurance. Even if they switch to private insurance, they can still receive financial help from the employer. Civil Servants are free to choose suitable coverage based on their particular circumstances.
5. Journalists And Artists
Particular rights cover journalists and artists. They are often insured publicly under the compulsory scheme. If they want to switch to private insurance, they must attain the income threshold. That’s the way to show private companies they are eligible for different private insurance plans.
Accessing Private Insurance for Germany Visa
Health insurance is mandatory when you are planning to move to Germany for an extended period. Your visa will be rejected if you don't have viable health insurance. However, if you are only staying for a short period of fewer than six months, this might not be a concern. Chances are your travel insurance already covers emergency medical care in that case.
Looking around for private health insurance is a good idea when you want to stay in the country longer. Not everyone is qualified for free public insurance. Before you pay for any coverage, make sure the plan meets all requirements for a German Visa.
The policy needs to offer necessary emergency medical evacuation if required. When your travel insurance coverage is inadequate, you must consider a private plan. This ensures you are covered in case of injuries or illnesses while you’re travelling.
The policy must also cover all medical treatment aspects to be valid in Germany. This includes things like treatment, hospital care, and seeing a doctor. Anything that might incur costs during medical treatment should be covered in the plan.
Even though you need full coverage for possible medical costs in Germany, there is still a chance of choosing a low level of coverage. A low coverage might exclude things like emergency repatriation flights. Talk to your provider about the visa requirements so they can tailor a suitable plan. These are some of the things you must keep in mind.
- Look for a short-term private insurance plan when you don't have adequate coverage before applying for a German visa. You can also opt for long-term medical insurance that will cover you until the end of your visa. Try applying for an exemption when you can't get insurance on time.
- Look for coverage that covers at least € 30,000 per year when you don't have private health insurance in Germany. You might have private insurance in your country, but it doesn't cover € 30,000. This might not be sufficient when looking for a visa. You have to ensure your insurance can cover all possible medical treatment costs.
- Since health insurance is mandatory in Germany, keep your insurance papers close when applying for a visa. This will show proof of insurance, and the people reviewing the documents can look at the insurance plan and determine if you qualify.
- The visa application process is slightly different depending on the embassy, consulate, and state. Learn what the requirements are in your country to make the process a bit easy.
Picking the Best Private Healthcare Insurance Provider in Germany
There are around forty private companies in Germany offering private health coverage plans. Picking the best provider can be an overwhelming task. You have to look and possibly get a customized plan.
These are the most important factors to consider when choosing a private health insurance:
Perhaps the most crucial consideration is healthcare coverage. Being underinsured is never a good thing. You have to ensure you pick a plan without any gaps. Compare plans from different providers before you settle for one. If you require regular prescriptions, ensure they are included in the plan. A great cover should limit your out-of-pocket expenses.
How much are you going to pay each month for the cover? If you don't consider the costs, you might end up with a plan you can barely afford. Great companies are willing to tailor health insurance based on your income and health. That ensures everyone has the coverage they can easily afford. If you stop making monthly payments, you might risk losing your health insurance. As much as everyone wants to save some coins, going with the cheapest option in the market is not always the best. See if there are any discounts you qualify for; that might help reduce the costs.
3. Customer Support
You are going to be a long-time customer of the company. You have to be sure the customer service is reputable. When you run into billing or any other issues, they should be ready and available to help. Therefore it is advisable to look into the operating hours of the Customer Service Department of the company, at least if they have a medical helpline available that can be reached 24/7 in case of emergency. In addition, it is always good to check if they have full English speaking support available, especially in case of emergency. Testimonials from past and current customers can tell you how the company handles customer issues.
4. Provider Network
Small companies usually have a small network. Their insurance policies may not be accepted everywhere in Germany. To avoid inconveniences, choose a private insurance provider with a vast network. Companies are willing to share this information to make your decision-making easy.
5. Health Insurance Underwriting
Medical underwriting describes how your medical history is used to evaluate your application. This is an essential thing to consider, especially when you have pre-existing conditions. Find out if the company requires a full examination before going forward.
Benefits of Private Health Insurance in Germany
Private insurance in Germany is very beneficial. There is no denying that it can be a bit costly compared to public health insurance, but it's worth it. For starters, you will have a free choice of hospitals and doctors that usually offer better treatment.
Shorter waiting times are also a significant advantage. This particularly comes in handy with elective surgery because they have longer waiting times. Faster doctor appointments are something everyone can appreciate.
You are free to choose your coverage, and you can include things like dental care, special treatments, and travel insurance. A tailored plan ensures you are fully covered in different circumstances. There are flexible offers with additional benefits. If you don't get sick, you can save a lot of cash on your cover.
With public health insurance, you don't always get to pick your doctors. But when you have private cover, you can choose the healthcare facility and professionals you prefer. Getting a doctor who speaks your native language makes the diagnosis and treatment process a bit easier.
Some healthcare services excluded from the public plan are included in private insurance plans. You can also access specialized treatments and medication faster than people using compulsory insurance. The health standards in Germany are high. But there are still some things private insurance can offer you that aren't available with public insurance.
People under the private insurance scheme have easy access to private hospitals. You may have a private room and more healthcare staff at your disposal than someone using a public hospital. The guarantee of comfort can be enticing for you and your loved ones.
Private insurance is the best option for young people with high incomes. Usually, young people are forced to use the compulsory scheme because most of them can't afford private care. But when you have the funds, getting yourself comprehensive cover from an early age is the right move. Despite being in the healthiest stages of your life, you will be covered in case of medical emergencies.
The most significant benefit is peace of mind. A comprehensive private cover ensures you get treatment no matter the illness you suffer. You will have comfort knowing you and your loved ones are covered in case of emergencies.
Switching To Private Health Insurance
Compulsory health insurance is sufficient for most people. But when you become eligible for private insurance, you might consider switching. Once you start earning above a certain amount, staying on the compulsory scheme will not offer you all the benefits you desire.
If you want to add extra coverage, including dental and travel insurance, start looking around for a private insurance company. Your income is usually measured before tax. It includes overtime payments, regular monthly income, bonuses, singular payments, and regular singular payments. The additional income will be calculated if you have a second job.
Once you are eligible, you have to unenroll yourself from public health insurance. Inform your employer and the public healthcare fund to let them know you are leaving. You should be aware that once you go private, coming back to the public system is not an easy process. But if your wages are reduced, you will return to a compulsory healthcare plan. Ensure you know the name and other details of the private company you want to work with.
When deciding on private insurance, there are certain options available. You can choose basic, standard, or comfort coverage. The basic offer is usually limited and close to the compulsory healthcare plan. But it's generally cheaper than any other private plan. The standard plan is the middle ground between comprehensive and basic coverage.
Standard coverage is for anyone who wants great value without spending a fortune. The comfort plan is the most costly, but it offers full coverage. You will access all the additional benefits and use Germany's best doctors and hospitals. You will get extensive care like vision correction surgery, dental care, and psychological treatments that aren't included in the compulsory plan.
Beware of the first-time user scale, which is meant to entice young clients with cheap plans that don't offer adequate coverage. The cheapest plan isn't always the best. Do your homework before start paying for insurance. Private insurance is costly for the elderly because of the high potential for illness.
Find out the deductible level or self-payment level plan on every plan. You should know the refunds of costs after treatment. Insurance in Germany can be an overwhelming topic. Those interested need careful research on the options available in the market. That’s how you land the best deal with the most benefits from a reputable company.
Just because you qualify for private insurance doesn’t mean you should go for it. The costs can accumulate and become expensive. It's not meant for everyone. Instead of the basic private plan, you should consider staying with compulsory care because they offer the same benefits. Contact B Protected for advice and further information before switching to private insurance.
German Private Health Insurance: Key FAQs
Who can get private health insurance in Germany?
Private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung or PKV) in Germany is available to anyone, but it's particularly popular among self-employed individuals, freelancers, and high-income earners. Some employees also opt for private insurance if their income is above the threshold set by the government, which was 66,600 euros per year as of 2023.
How does private health insurance differ from statutory health insurance in Germany?
The main difference between private and statutory health insurance in Germany is the coverage and cost. Private insurance often provides more comprehensive coverage, including single rooms in hospitals and more treatment options. The cost of private insurance is based on your individual risk and not your income, as with statutory insurance.
Can I switch from private health insurance back to statutory health insurance?
It's generally difficult to switch back from private to statutory health insurance, especially after the age of 55. However, certain life changes like a significant decrease in income, becoming unemployed, or starting a family can make it possible to return to statutory insurance.
Is dental care covered under private health insurance?
Yes, private health insurance in Germany often covers a wide range of dental treatments, even more than statutory health insurance. This can include regular check-ups, orthodontic treatment, and high-quality dental prostheses. The exact coverage depends on the specific insurance plan.
Can I get private health insurance if I have pre-existing conditions?
Yes, but it might affect your premiums and coverage. When you apply for private health insurance, you'll typically have to provide detailed information about your health history. If you have pre-existing conditions, you may face higher premiums or certain treatments might be excluded from your coverage.
You can't stay in Germany without insurance. Since that's the case, shopping for a suitable insurance plan is always great. Private health insurance is one of the options you can go for. There are so many aspects of the private insurance scheme you need to consider. Hopefully, this guide gives you a sense of what to expect.
To ensure you have coverage suitable for your needs, it is advised to compare different plans. There are several insurance companies, and all of them have different terms and conditions. Consider the costs because you are going to be making monthly payments. You don’t want something that will be strenuous. You should seek advice from an insurance broker when you don’t know how to secure private health insurance in Germany.