Everyone living in Germany in required to have German health insurance. Therefore, expats and foreigners moving to Germany need to understand the German healthcare system. Fortunately, Germany has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. As an expat in Germany, you can choose to have public health insurance or private health insurance. About 90% of people have public health insurance, and the remaining 10% have private health insurance. This guide for expats in Germany explains the German healthcare system and covers German public health insurance in detail.
Do I qualify for German public health insurance?
For expats from countries within the EU that were insured by the state public healthcare system of their country, getting German public health insurance is not a problem.
Non-EU expats qualify for German public health insurance if they work in Germany or are married to a German.
Lastly, for both EU and non-EU expats to be eligible, your income cannot exceed 60,750€ per year (as of 2019). In other words, you have to apply for private health insurance if you earn more than 60,750€ per year.
When do I need to get German health insurance?
You need to have insurance at all times. You should start the process of getting insurance before you arrive if you’re from a country outside the European Union (EU). As a non-EU citizen applying for a residency permit/ visa in Germany, one of the required documents is proof of German health insurance. Therefore, it is important to start this process ahead of time.
If you are from a country within the EU, you need to start the process of getting insured through the German healthcare system when you arrive. If you are from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you can use your EHIC card for a limited time. Note that the EHIC card is only for temporary travelers in Germany. In other words, it can’t be used as a substitute for German health insurance.
For both non-EU expats and EU expats, you have 3 months from when you become a resident of Germany to apply for German public health insurance.
How much does German public health insurance cost?
German public health insurance costs depend on the type of coverage you have and your income. Generally you can expect to pay between 180€ (lower income) and 800€ (higher income).
In 2019 the German state healthcare contribution was 14.6%. Normally your employer pays for half of this cost and you pay for the remaining half (7.3%). For example, if you made 1000€ per month, you and your employer would owe a combined 146€. Your employer would pay 73€ and you would pay the other 73€. This payment is deducted directly from your paycheck.
What is the best German public health insurance for expats?
We highly recommend Germany’s largest public health insurance, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), for expats in Germany. TK offers reliable customer support in English, and the application forms are available in English.
What are the benefits of TK health insurance?
Family insurance: You do not have to pay additional fees to insure your family members.
Coverage abroad: TK health insurance is valid in most European countries. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is located on the back of your TK eHealth card. Present this card when you go to a hospital for medical treatment.
Doctor of your choice: You can choose your doctor.
An overview of some services TK offers:
Vaccinations: All vaccinations recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) are covered under TK health insurance.
Screening examinations: Most all screening examinations for adults, adolescence, and children are covered. Examples include blood testing in neonatal screening, Chlamydia infection testing, cancer screening, and newborn hearing screening.
Dental check-ups: Dental examinations are covered twice per year.
Rehabilitation and functional training: TK has prearranged contracts with many rehabilitation and functional training service providers. TK covers the costs for these services for a limited time.
Medicine: TK covers the costs of prescription medicines.
Glasses: TK will pay the cost of glasses and lenses at a fixed amount with a prescription from your doctor. This fixed amount is between 10€ and 113€ per glass.
Sleep therapy devices: TK has prearranged contracts with suppliers and will cover the base cost of a sleep therapy device.
This brief summary of the services TK offers demonstrates their commitment to providing optimal medical support. In addition, TK is a great German public health insurance option for expats because the application, customer support, and website can all be accessed in English.
In conclusion, all expats living in Germany must have some form of German health insurance. For many, public health insurance is a great option.
Lastly, while public health insurance covers basic needs, in some cases you can buy add-ons from private insurers. In other words, you can purchase extra coverage from private healthcare providers. For example, you can add more coverage for access to better hospitals, more dental services, and no co-payments for prescription medicines. Click here to read more about German private health insurance.
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