Health insurance is mandatory
First things first, health insurance in Germany is mandatory. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not like choosing whether or not you want to splurge on that extra guac at Chipotle. As a resident, you are required by law to have health insurance. This applies to both Germans and expats alike. And this is one of the reasons, why the German health insurance system is still considered as one of the best in the world.
Choosing your insurance
So, what are your options? Well, you can either enroll in public or private health insurance. Public health insurance is provided by statutory health insurance providers, also known as gesetzliche Krankenkassen, and is available to everyone who meets certain requirements, such as being employed or self-employed. Private health insurance is offered by private health insurance providers and is typically geared toward higher-income earners.
How much do you need to budget?
Now, let’s talk about costs. In public health insurance, you typically pay around 14.6% of your gross income toward healthcare. This covers everything from doctor visits to hospital stays to prescription medications. Private health insurance works a bit differently, with costs varying depending on things like your age, health status, and chosen plan. However, if you are employed, not working as a freelancer, this is taken care of by your employer.
Natural and homeopathic medical care
When it comes to healthcare in Germany, did you know that it’s not just about traditional medicine? That’s right! As an expat in Germany, you also have access to what’s known as complementary medicine. This includes practices such as acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, and more.
Now, we know what you’re thinking. “Isn’t that just for hippies and new-age enthusiasts?” But don’t be fooled by stereotypes! In Germany, these alternative practices are highly respected and even covered by some health insurance plans – but you should be prepared to pay a little extra out of pocket.
In fact, many Germans regularly use complementary medicine alongside traditional treatments. And why not? When it comes to your health, having a range of options can only be a good thing, right? So, if you’re interested in exploring different approaches to healthcare, Germany is the perfect place to do it. Who knows, you might just discover a new way to feel your best!
A good starting point is to contact different health insurance providers. Public health insurance might not even be able to accept you as a client if you come from certain countries, where a similar system does not exist (e.g. the U.S.). However: They are required to accept anyone who has a work contract, no matter the age, pre-existing conditions or other reasons. But keep in mind: They can refuse to accept you if you come to Germany as a Freelancer or are setting up your own business here. This is where you will have no choice but to choose a private health insurance.
Private health insurance companies, however, are able to reject you if you have pre-existing conditions that make it more likely for you to need treatments. But here comes the solution: They are required to take anyone in if they choose the basic plan. This plan is more or less comparable to what the public health insurance offers – unfortunately, it is way more expensive. But to be fair: this might be the only way for you to get health insurance in Germany unless you work at least one day as an employee in Germany.
Too Overwhelmed with all the options?
If that seems complicated, I recommend talking to one of our relocation consultants who has experience in those matters. They can guide you in the right direction and can find solutions that work for you.
So, there you have it folks – the basics of health insurance in Germany. It may seem daunting at first, but once you understand the system, it’s not so bad. Plus, with all the beer and schnitzel you’ll be consuming, you’ll want to make sure you have good healthcare coverage. Prost!