German health insurance: types depending on the purpose of the trip
Foreigners coming to Germany must have health insurance to obtain a visa. When preparing for your move, it is important to learn about the requirements for health insurance in Germany. We will tell you what types of health insurance exist in Germany depending on the purpose of the trip and how a foreigner can choose a public and private insurance agent
Every foreigner who goes to Germany for the purpose of travel or permanent residence must have a health insurance policy. However, the type of policy depends on the specific purpose of the trip. Work, study, freelance or travel - different types of policies are suitable for a certain type of activity.
What types of health insurance in Germany should I have depending on the purpose of my trip to country? A detailed guide follows.
What types of health insurance exist in Germany?
In Germany, there are three types of health insurance policies for foreigners:
- State medical insurance;
- Private medical insurance;
- Medical insurance during the trip.
Read details about the specifics of insurance in Germany and the country's health care system at the link.
1. Features of health insurance for employees
Every employee in Germany must have a health insurance policy. The type of insurance you will be entitled to depends on your salary. If an employee earns less than €66,600 per year (or €5,550 per month), he can only receive public health insurance. 90% of employees in the Federal Republic of Germany took out such a policy.
State health insurance for employees in Germany
There are a total of 97 public health insurance providers (Krankenkassen) in Germany to choose from. Each insurance agent covers the same list of services, including inpatient care, outpatient care, medications, rehabilitation care, and some dental procedures.
The cost of the policy is also the same – the base rate is 14.6% of salary (plus additional premiums up to 2.4%). Thus, as your salary increases, so do your health insurance contributions, although they are capped when your income reaches €4,837 per month.
The employer is obliged to cover 50% of the cost of the health insurance policy. That is, the employee can expect that 7.3% will be deducted from his salary for insurance.
Private health insurance for employees
If an expat's salary in Germany exceeds 66,600 euros per year, he is entitled to take out a private health insurance policy. Its advantages include:
- An expat has access to a wider range of procedures.
- Getting medical help is much easier and faster.
- The policy can be customized according to personal treatment needs and budget.
- Full dental coverage and travel insurance.
2. Medical insurance for students
Health insurance is a mandatory document for foreign students in Germany. Without the policy data, you will not be able to be enrolled and start the study program. Insurance is also a mandatory requirement for obtaining a student visa.
State health insurance for foreign students in Germany
Public health insurance providers (Krankenkassen) are obliged to insure international students under the age of 30 or until the completion of the 14th semester at university. The amount of the monthly contribution under the policy will be 105 euros. Students have access to the services of a world-class national health system, including inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, medication, rehabilitation treatment and some dental services.
Private health insurance
Foreigners who do not have the right to take out a state health insurance policy are obliged to take out a private policy. This category includes:
- Students over 30 years old.
- Students of language schools, including those who take preparatory language courses before entering the university.
- Docents and researchers.
Importantly! Before buying a health insurance policy for students, be sure to check with the university whether the document you have chosen is suitable for the educational institution.
3. Health insurance for freelancers in Germany
A health insurance policy is a mandatory document for self-employed workers and freelancers who have decided to settle in Germany. Foreigners can choose between public and private policies. However, unlike employees, for whom the employer compensates 50% of the cost of the policy, freelancers are required to pay 100% of the insurance premiums themselves - this can be quite expensive.
Public health insurance for freelancers in Germany
All 97 public health insurance providers (Krankenkassen) cover the same services – inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, medication, rehabilitation treatment and some dental services. The cost of the policy is also the same - 14.6% of your income (plus additional premiums of up to 2.4%), so as your income increases, so will your health insurance premiums and at some point the policy can become very expensive. For example, if you earn 4,500 euros per month, you will have to pay 657 euros per month for a state health insurance policy in Germany. Those who earn less or nothing at all will still be obliged to pay a minimum monthly insurance contribution of 180 euros.
However, the state health insurance policy has certain advantages for freelancers:
- The amount of insurance premiums does not depend on age or health, so it is quite beneficial for older foreigners.
- Preconditions do not affect the cost of the policy.
- The insurance also covers your family members.
Importantly! The right to public health insurance in Germany as a freelancer or self-employed worker is only available to citizens of EU/EEA member states and those who recently had a public health insurance policy in one of the European countries. Everyone else needs to take out private insurance.
Private health insurance for freelancers in Germany
Due to the high cost of the public health insurance policy in Germany, many self-employed workers often opt for private insurance.
Usually, its cost depends on the age, state of health, existing diseases and type of activity of the foreigner. Therefore, it is often much more profitable for young and healthy freelancers with a large salary to choose private insurance. In addition, private insurance provides access to a wider range of procedures. It is also possible to choose a policy that fully meets your needs, including full dental cover and travel protection.
If you receive a low income or have significant health problems, you may be refused by private health insurance companies in Germany. Then the only option is to take out a health insurance policy abroad.
4. Health insurance for jobseekers in Germany
Foreigners applying for a job seeker visa must also have a health insurance policy. However, this category of expats is not entitled to public health insurance in Germany, and a policy from a private German insurance agent can be quite expensive.
In this case, we advise you to pay attention to health insurance for foreigners, which guarantees the provision of medical care during illness and will allow you to issue a visa for moving.
5. Medical insurance for tourists
Foreigners who plan to spend a vacation in Germany or issue a Working Holiday Visa - a permit that entitles citizens of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan or Uruguay to live and work in Germany up to 1 year, are also required to take out a health insurance policy. Document requirements:
- Act during the entire period of stay in Germany.
- Cover at least 30,000 euros of medical expenses.
- To compensate for repatriation to the homeland.
The policies of most private insurance agents meet the above requirements.
Importantly! Some German embassies or consulates have higher insurance requirements. Therefore, before taking out the policy, contact the chosen representative office to find out exactly its standards.
How can a foreigner choose a public and private insurance agent in Germany?
It can be quite difficult for a foreigner to decide which of the 97 suppliers is the best. Therefore, when choosing an agent, pay attention to how friendly the company is to foreigners and whether the insurance agent provides support and advice in English. It is also important that the company is included in the list of agents whose policies are accepted by the German immigration authorities for processing a work permit or Blue Card. Additional advantages will be if the company:
1. Clear and simple online process, follow the registration link.
2. The procedure for obtaining medical services does not require extra effort, that is, to receive medical assistance, it is enough to show a medical insurance card. Payment for treatment will be made automatically.
The largest state insurance company in Germany is TK Health Insurance. BARMER insurance company is also popular.
Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World
To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need health insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.
Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:
Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Germany;
Legal advice on immigration in Germany;
Travel insurance for foreigners in Germany;
Medical insurance all over the world.
Health insurance for traveling abroad: a detailed guide.
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