Find the Best Health Insurance in Germany
One of the most important decisions you have to make once you moved to Germany is to pick the right health insurance.
We really encourage you to take your time before making a decision and compare all the different options available – because once you picked a health insurance in Germany you are more or less stuck with it for some time.
With very few exceptions it is mandatory in Germany since 2007 to have a German health insurance.
However these exceptions are so rare (and we would never advise you to live in Germany without a valid health insurance) that we just assume you are one of the 99,9% of people who are by law forced to have a health insurance.
Private or Public Health Insurance
First of all you need to decide if you have the choice between a private health insurance and a publich health insurance.
Only a small percentage of people are eligible to choose, who are:
- Civil servants
- Employees with a yearly income of minimum 62.550€
Advantages of Private Health Insurance
✅ Quicker appointments:
Especially if you live in a larger city it can take some days until a doctor is free to see you (unless it is urgent then you need to wait in a full waiting room for hours with other sick people).
However if you mention you are privately insured (the doctor can charge a higher fee than with a publicly insured patient) you will get appointments straight away.
✅ Free choice of doctors:
Let’s say you are starting to have problems with your vision and you want a specialist to check this out.
If you are publicly insured you need to go to your normal GP first who then will transfer you to an eye doctor.
However, if you are privately insured, you just go to the eye doctor of your choice right away. Way more effective, isn’t it?
✅ Private practices:
A private practice “Privatpraxis” is the ultimate luxury when being sick.
Those private pracitces usually only have a few patients per day, which means the doctor has way more time for you and your appointments are usually on time.
✅ Save money with high incomes:
Most surprisingly if you earn a lot of money it will actually be cheaper for you to be privately insured than publicly insured.
How much you have to pay for your private health insurance mainly depends on your age, your physical health and most importantly on the amount of extras your insurance will cover.
So if you want to have a single bed in hospital and only be treated by the head physician then your monthly cost will be naturally higher than if you just go for a basic coverage.
✅ Get money back when being healthy:
Generally if you are privately insured you will have to pay for your medicine and treatments yourself.
At the end of the year (or also during the year) you send your bills to your public health insurance and they will reimburse you for all expenses.
However if for several years you do not send in bills the health insurance will actually give you some of your money back.
Disadvantages of Private Health Insurance
🔻 Only a low percentage of people can apply
We already covered this but it is important to mention again that not everyone is allowed to join a private health insurance.
There are already plans in Germany to stop this so called 2-Klassengesellschaft, as it is quite unfair for people with higher incomes to get better access to medical treatment
🔻 Difficult to get out again
Once you have decided to be privately insured it might be a bit of a hassle to get out of it again (in case it gets too expensive in later years).
To do so you need e.g. to be below the minimum monthly income for some time or leave the country for a few weeks.
But in general it does not make sense to change from private to public health insurance if you are not forced to.
As we already mentioned before it is a really tough decision which (private) health insurance is best for you.
What we can definitely say is that if you decided for a private health insurance that Ottonova is our favorite pick so far.
Other private health insurances are still stuck in the nineties and make it tough to impossible to easily compare the different options and signing up online.
However with Ottonova you have private health insurance that not only is very clear in communicating all the perks included, but also lets you easily sign up online.
Furthermore you will have 24/7 English speaking support to help you in case of any trouble.
Unfortunately we know from other German health insurances what it means to be a non-German native – which is horrible to say the least.
Also if you are living in a rural area you can even get a medical consultation via video call in English with Ottonova.
So if you are planning on signing up for a German private health insurance we highly recommend Ottonova as your first pick.
Advantages of Public Health Insurance
✅ Automatically signed up when working
If you have a German contract as an employee and earn less than 62.550€ a year you will automatically signed up by your employer with a public German health insurance.
They usually ask you if you have a preference but other than that there is not much you need to decide.
✅ Cheaper than private insurance with low incomes
Depending on how much money you earn you have to pay a monthly fee for your public health insurance.
A German health insurance starts at around 150€ per month and can go up to a maximum of 685€ for people who do earn more than 62.550€ per year.
In comparison a private health insurance with comparable benefits will cost you a minimum of 300€ per month.
Disadvantages of Public Health Insurance
🔻More expensive with high incomes
As already pointed out above if you are earning a lot of money you should definitely go for a private health insurance for better benefits and lower monthly costs.
🔻 Worse medical treatment
We also pointed that one out already that it is actually quite unfair that people with higher incomes can also get access to better medical treatment – but that’s life somehow.
But don’t worry, worse medical treatment only means that you might have to wait longer for appointments or need to see a GP before being transfered to a specialist.
Comparison Public and Private Health Insurance
|Free choice of doctor||Yes||No|
|Payment doctor||Pay first and get reimbursed later||Directly between doctor and health insurance|
|Monthly cost||Depending on your health and the extra benefits you choose to include in your insurance||Depending on your monthly income alone|
|Free choice of hospital||Yes||No|
|Hospital room||Depending on benefits, but usually 1-2 persons||Usually several persons|
|Hospital treatment||Head doctor||Doctor on duty|
Best German Public Health Insurances
One of the most famous German public health insurances is TK – Techniker Krankenkasse.
This Krankenkasse is open to anyone and has some outstanding features such as English support via telephone (which will take a while until you find someone but there will be one) and coverage of some more alternative treatments.
About one third of all Germans are insured with one of the 11 different branches of the AOK, which makes AOK the biggest German public health insurance.
Does my employer pay my health insurance?
Yes, your employer usually pays 50% of your health insurance while the other 50% will be paid by you.
It does not make a difference if you are privately or publicly insured – this applies to both types of insurance.
Now that you have taken care of your German health insurance it is time to see if you are missing any other German insurance.
And if this has been too much administrative stuff for you why don’t you continue reading about the most famous German dishes?