Health Insurance in Germany for Freelancers

HEALTH Insurance in Germany for FREELANCERS & Self-Employed

Health Insurance For Freelancers

Everyone living in Germany in required to have German health insurance. Freelancers can choose to have either public health insurance or private health insurance. The best health insurance in Germany for freelancers depends on your specific needs. 

Sections in this article: 

  • Public vs. Private
  • How the cost is calculated
  • Coverage for non-working dependents
  • Switching between public and public health insurance
  • Cost of public health insurance
  • Best German public health insurance for freelancers
  • Best German private health insurance for freelancers

Health insurance options for freelancers & self-employed

Public vs. Private

Public insurance is a great option for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Public health insurance also offers family plans, while private insurance requires that you pay for each individual person you insure. 

Private health insurance lets you choose different services so you can build your own, personalized insurance plan. For example, freelancers can choose between different dental, specialty treatments, outpatient and inpatient services. This lets you change the cost of your insurance plan to meet your needs. You can also choose to have a deductible. A deductible is an amount you pay for healthcare services before your insurance provider starts to pay. Having a deductible means the monthly cost of your private insurance plan is lower. However, you have to pay a certain amount out-of-pocket until you meet your deductible. 

How the cost is calculated 

How much you pay for German public health insurance depends on your income. For regular employees, the cost of public health insurance is split equally between the employer and the employee. As you might expect, however, freelancers are responsible for the total cost of their public health insurance. This means that health insurance in Germany for freelancers is sometimes very expensive. How much you pay for private insurance depends on your age/health.

This means that the cost of private health insurance usually increases as you get older. It will be less expensive than public health insurance while you are young, but more expensive when you are older.

Public health insurance might initially seem like the more expensive option for freelancers. Private health insurance might be a cheaper option if you are young, do not have children, and are healthy. On the other hand, public health insurance might be a cheaper option if you are older and have children.  

Coverage for non-working dependents

Whether or not you have children or a non-working spouse will also impact the cost of your health insurance. For private health insurance, you have to pay for each individual person you want to have insured. On the other hand, public health insurance premiums offer family plans. This lets you insure both you and all your non-working dependents together, rather than paying separately. 

Switching between public and private health insurance

It is very difficult to switch from private health insurance to public health insurance. Therefore, freelancers should seriously consider whether switching to private health insurance is the best longterm option.  

German law makes switching to public health insurance after having private health insurance very challenging. There are only a couple circumstances in which a freelancer might be able to switch to public health insurance:

  1. The freelancer becomes a regular employee and their income is lower than 60,750€ per year (as of 2019).
  2. If the freelancer is unemployed.

If you plan to live in Germany for the rest of your life, public health insurance might save you money in the long run because the cost of private health insurance will increase as you get older. 

Cost of public health insurance

As stated before, the cost of public health insurance depends on your income.

Prior to January 1, 2019, German public health insurance providers calculated incomes starting at €2,238.75. This means that even if you made less than €2,238.75, you would still be charged as if your monthly income was €2,238.75. On the other hand, if you made more than €2,238.75 per month, your health insurance contribution would be based off of your actual income. 

This was a lot of money for freelancers, so Germany changed the law.

As of January 1, 2019, the minimum income for freelancers was changed to €1,038.33. This means that if you only make €800 per month, your monthly healthcare contribution is calculated using €1,038.33, instead of €2,238.75. Yes – you will still have to pay as if you were making €1,038.33. That’s just the statutory “minimum income” for the self-employed. The reduction in the minimum income has made a big difference financially for freelancers! 

The income threshold is €4,537.50 per month. This means that your public health insurance contributions will be calculated using this number, even if you make more than €4,537.50 per month. 

Best German public health insurance for freelancers

From our experience and research, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) is a great public health insurance provider for expats in Germany. TK is Germany’s largest public health insurance, and for good reason. TK offers reliable customer support in English, and the application forms are available in English. They are a great option for health insurance in Germany for freelancers. 

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.

*You can calculate how much will have to pay as a freelancer through TK’s contribution calculator for self-employed.*

Best German private health insurance for freelancers

Ottonova is the only private health insurance company in Germany that focuses largely on working with expats/non-German speakers.

Furthermore, Ottonova has an English website and a specially discounted private health insurance package just for expats!


Lastly, you should consider getting German legal insurance if you don’t have it already. Many people living in Germany have legal insurance. Our article, “Legal Insurance In Germany: Do You Need It?” explains everything you need to know about legal protection for expats in Germany. 

*Full Disclosure: Some of the links we use on this website are affiliate links. By using those links, you help keep our website free. There is no additional cost for you. We also want to note that we only recommend services we trust and that we would use ourselves.


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