MBA Germany

Health Insurance in Germany


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Your first priority when coming to Germany should be to have a health insurance. Maybe if you find a job after arriving to Germany or if your company has transferred you to Germany, there is a chance that health insurance is already included in your job contract. In many cases it is necessary and important to show proof of health insurance coverage to get a residence permit.

Perhaps, you will usually not get a residency permit without proof of adequate insurance. Health insurance is also mandatory for all employees and students in Germany, so you will not be able to start working or studying without it.

Statutory and private health insurance

In Germany, there are two types of health insurance systems:
State health insurance.

State health insurance is directed by the German government. Germans and most foreigners are obliged to take out state health insurance.

Many Germans have complaints about state health insurance. But the state health insurance scheme also offers some advantages compared to private schemes. The best advantage is that it also insures your family at no extra charge, your spouse or partner and, up to a certain age, your children are covered by your insurance - provided that their collective income does not exceed €340 a month and they do not have their own insurance.

In the state health system, you contribute with a percentage; you pay about 14% of your gross income. If you have a high income, it might be cheaper to opt for a private insurance policy. Students can use a special insurance scheme that offers favorable rates.

Statutory health insurance is provided by a network of non-profit making companies working with the state to administer the national health program (Gesetzliche Krankenkassen). Since 1996, anyone is free to choose the fund they wish to be insured with. Even though benefits are similar across all companies, it is often worth comparing contributions since these can vary significantly.

Note: Your insurance company will give you a health insurance card, which you have to take with you whenever you visit a doctor, dentist or specialist.

Private health insurance

You can choose private health insurance in some specific cases. It usually offers more extensive cover, but that does not automatically make it an advantage for all cases.

Private health insurance schemes offer more extensive cover, this kind of system includes the option of private hospitals or semi private hospitals, alternative therapies such as herbal treatments and acupuncture, contact lenses and glasses, and other treatments that may not be available under the state health insurance.

When you come to your medical treatment, you´ll receive a preferential treatment in comparison to other state insured patients. Some doctors even restrict their practices only to private patients. Another advantage is that private insurances don't expect you to pay any additional co-payments (Zusatzzahlungen) for medicines and treatment as in the state scheme.

Some disadvantages of private health insurance are that it is almost impossible to return to a state insurance scheme, even if your income drops. After some years, it also becomes very unattractive to switch from one private provider to another. As medical costs on average increase with age, insurers retain some money you paid in while you're young to cover you as you grow older (Rücklagen). If you switch company, you lose all this money and will have to sign a new contract for a higher cost.

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Health & Insurance in Germany
MBA Germany