Health insurance for foreign workers in Germany: how to apply and what risks it covers
As a foreign worker, you play an important role in the social development of the country and are entitled to enjoy the many benefits of living in Germany, including its healthcare system. Find out more about whether a foreign employee is required to have a health insurance policy to work in Germany, what risks are and are not covered by the policy, and other important details
Foreigners working in Germany have the right to enjoy all social benefits, including a developed health care system. However, in order to get medical help, you need to understand how this system works. After the reform in 2009, compulsory health insurance was approved in Germany. That is, everyone who lives in Germany, even a foreigner, must have a certain health insurance policy. We talked about what kind of insurance you need to take out, depending on the purpose of your trip to Germany, here. Today we will talk in more detail about the features of health insurance in Germany for foreign workers.
Does a foreign worker need to have a health insurance policy to work in Germany?
Health insurance is a mandatory document for all foreign workers in Germany, both EU citizens and those arriving from other countries of the world. Germany's health care system is based on public and private insurance. Depending on the income, foreign workers have the right to issue one of the policies or two at once. The main thing is to discuss this issue with the employer before signing the employment contract.
Everyone who finds a job in Germany is automatically enrolled in the state health care system and receives state health insurance. If the expat has a high income or is self-employed, he will be entitled to take out private health insurance.
State health insurance for expats in Germany
Compulsory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung – GKV) is designed to ensure that all employees in Germany have access to essential health services in the event of illness or injury.
Key rules of state health insurance for foreign workers:
- To whom does it apply? Every expat working in Germany is required to take out a state health insurance policy. Only foreigners whose income exceeds 66,000 euros per year or 5,550 euros per month are entitled to a private policy.
- Amount of contributions – basic rate of 14.6% of salary (plus additional bonuses 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. The other half is deducted directly from the expat's salary.
- Health Insurance Funds - In total, there are 97 public health insurance providers (Krankenkassen) in Germany to choose from. Each insurance agent covers the same list of services, but they may differ in terms of additional services and customer support. Foreign workers have the right to choose a health insurance fund that will meet your needs and preferences.
- Universal health care system – regardless of citizenship or employment status, every foreigner in Germany receives the same right to medical care as citizens of the country. You can seek medical help from doctors, specialists and hospitals within the insurance network.
- Automatic registration – when an employer registers a foreigner in the taxpayer system, he automatically becomes a member of the state health care system. A little later, the expat will be able to get a health insurance card (Versichertenkarte), which can be presented when seeking medical care.
Private health insurance for foreign workers
Private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung – PKV) is an alternative to the state policy, which allows you to choose coverage with additional benefits, but it has its own characteristics:
- Employees whose salary exceeds 66,000 euros per year, as well as self-employed persons with high incomes, freelancers, students, senior citizens or those who are not entitled to public health insurance are entitled to take out a private insurance policy in Germany.
- Individual coverage – a private health insurance policy can be tailored to the specific needs of a foreigner. An expat can choose from a variety of plans and options that offer different levels of coverage, deductible amounts, and additional benefits.
- Service in private hospitals - owners of this policy get access to a wider network of medical service providers, including hospitals with English-speaking staff.
- The amount of the monthly insurance premium depends on the patient's age, state of health, as well as selected insurance risks and the company. The cost of the policy may increase depending on inflationary adjustments or the age of the insured person.
- Additional insurance – a private insurance policy can be used together with a public insurance policy as an additional one to expand the list of insurance risks and get additional benefits.
What risks does a health insurance policy cover in Germany?
Insurance risks covered by compulsory health insurance in Germany are regulated by German law. According to the document, each state insurance agent covers the same list of services:
- Outpatient care.
- Inpatient treatment.
- Reimbursement of the cost of medicines.
- Management of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Basic dental support.
- Mental health support.
- Medical equipment and devices.
The components of private insurance may differ depending on the type of policy, but each document includes basic services: outpatient care, inpatient treatment, pregnancy and childbirth management, dental care.
What medical services are not covered by insurance?
Neither state nor private health insurance in Germany covers:
- cosmetic procedures;
- plastic surgery;
- infertility treatment;
- dental prosthetics;
- experimental treatment;
- alternative methods of treatment;
- health procedures;
- spa care;
- non-prescription medical drugs.
What is the average cost of German health insurance?
1. State medical insurance
The base rate is 14.6% of salary (plus additional bonuses 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.
2. Private health insurance
The cost of a private health insurance policy depends on the level of coverage, individual factors and selected insurance risks. In particular, the price is influenced by age, state of health, desired coverage and selected insurance company. On average, the monthly contribution ranges from 100 to 500 euros.
Can I choose the type of health insurance?
Only expats whose salary exceeds 66,000 euros per year or self-employed persons can choose between public and private insurance. Other categories of foreign workers are required to have a state health insurance policy.
Can I use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Germany?
EU and EEA citizens have the right to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to receive medical care while working in Germany. Also, citizens of Great Britain can get a doctor's consultation on the basis of a GHIC card. However, this is only possible for a short-term stay. Europeans who plan to work in Germany on a permanent basis must register with the German health care system or purchase a private insurance policy.
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 foreign employees in Germany.
Health insurance for traveling abroad: a detailed guide.
Work visa for foreigners in Germany: requirements and procedure for obtaining.
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The simultaneous stay of visitors in the hotel lobby not more than one person per 10 square meters of serviceable area is allowed.
Persons can visit hotels and stay there (outside hotel room) only if they wear respirator or face mask (including homemade mask), so that the nose and mouth are covered.
Hotel guests are obliged to keep the 1.5 meters distance.
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