German Healthcare Insurance, a straight forward affair?  In short, anything but I’m afraid!

Undoubtedly those new in Frankfurt and Germany will have encountered their fair share of stress and confusion deciphering the healthcare and insurance systems when arriving!  Admittedly it’s not the easiest to navigate particularly if you don’t speak the language!  For this reason we attempt to make things a little less confusing for you and summarise the basics below.

German Healthcare Insurance a brief overview

Firstly, it is obligatory for everyone living and studying in Germany to have health insurance.  Secondly, Germany has a two tier system:

Public Healthcare Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenkasse or GKV)

  • Refers to State or Government health insurance.  Contributions are calculated in accordance with your earnings
  • It is calculated at a basic rate of 14.6 % plus a possible average supplemental rate of 1.3 % of your eligible gross salary with a cap set at a maximum monthly income of 4,837 Euros (as of 2021 figures)

  • Many German residents are publicly insured
  • If you are employed in Germany your employer pays 50% of your health contributions
  • Receiving unemployment compensation (Arbeitslosengeld I) from the German Agency of Labour makes you a mandatory member of the public health scheme.

Private Healthcare Insurance (Private Krankenversicherung or PKV)

Contributions are determined by health and circumstances.   Also, be aware that there are various levels of coverage to choose from.  For example they range from very basic to very comprehensive coverage plans and contributions are determined accordingly.

Prerequisites for PKV

  • an employee earning more than €64,350 (2021);
  • self-employed
  • a freelancer
  • a civil servant or other public employee
      1. Pros:

        • appointment waiting times are reduced
        • higher level of service (admittedly though this is not a given)
        • many alternative therapies are covered
      2. Cons:

        • Contributions are per person.  In other words, it may be cheaper for a young single person in good health as opposed to for a family with more than 2 children
        • It is very difficult to go back to State/Public insurance once you are privately insured.  However it is not impossible, there are a few very limited scenarios that make you eligible ie loss of job and thus income.
        • after the age of 55 regardless of circumstance, it is impossible to revert ie go back to State/Public insurance.

How to be Eligible for State Funded Healthcare

  1. Register with the German authorities at your local town hall (Einwohnermeldeamt).
  2. Have a German Social Insurance number (Sozialversicherungsnummer)
  3. Be making National insurance contributions
  4. Register with a health insurance fund (they will issue you health insurance card (Krankenversichertenkarte)). Your employer should provide you with the details of their preferred provider and guide you through the process
  5. Receiving unemployment compensation (Arbeitslosengeld I) from the German Agency of Labour makes you a mandatory member of the public health scheme.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles holders with statutory health insurance to receive medical services across Europe.  Moreover, those who are legally insured in Germany do not have to apply for the European Health Insurance Card. It is automatically printed on the back of the insurance card.

Additional Information

  1. Tips for finding a paediatrician
  2. All information is provided to the best of our knowledge as of January 2021 but The Frankfurt Edit is not liable for its accuracy or completeness.